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the Very Rev. Father JOHN PROCTER, O.P., S.T.L., Pro- 
vincial of the English Dominicans. Being the First Volume 
of the Official Series of Dominican Prayer-Books. 

Spirit, and Rule. 


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Jordan to St. Dominic. 7. Devotion in the form of Chaplet, 
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Dominic for each day of the week. 9. The Blessing of St. 
Dominic in Sickness. 10. Ejaculations to St. Dominic. 

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' Chi-isti pia gratia Sanctos sublimavit, 
Quos f Patris Dominici Oi'do propagavit ; 
t N J QS eorum meritis petimus juvari, 
lAtque suis precibus Deo commendari" 



tl tetat 


Die 7 Januarii 1900 



Die 8 Januarii 1900 


IN obedience to the Decrees of Urban VIII. of March 
13, 1625, and July 5, 1634, we declare that, when 
giving the title of Saint or Blessed to any persons of 
high virtue mentioned in these pages, or when speaking 
of miraculous and extraordinary deeds and events, we 
only do so in accordance with the usage of ordinary 
language, without meaning in any way to anticipate 
the judgment of Holy Church. 





loth. Blessed Gonsalvo of Amarantha, C. I 

i6th. Blessed Stephana Quinzani, V 4 

I9th. Blessed Andrew of Peschiera, C 7 

23rd. Saint Raymund of Pennafort, C. . . . .10 

24th. Blessed Marcolino of Forli, C 13 

26th. Blessed Margaret of Hungary, V 15 

28th. Translation of the Relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas, 

CD 18 


9th. Blessed Bernard Scammacca, C 21 

1 2th. Blessed Reginald of Orleans, C 24 

1 3th. Saint Catharine de Ricci, V 27 

I4th. Blessed Nicholas Palea of Giovinazzo, C. . . 31 

1 5th. Blessed Jordan of Saxony, C 34 

1 8th. Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta, C 38 

1 9th. Blessed Alvarez of Cordova, C 42 

2 1 st. Blessed Aimo Taparelli, C 45 

2$th. Blessed Constantius of Fabriano, C. ... 47 

28th. Blessed Villana de Botti 50 

Thursday after Sexagesima Sunday. Translation of the 

Relics of Saint Catharine of Siena, V. 53 


1st. Blessed Christopher of Milan, C 56 

2nd. Blessed Henry Suso, C 58 

6th. Blessed Jordan of Pisa, C 61 

7th. Saint Thomas Aquinas, C.D 64 

viii Contents 


loth. Blessed Peter di Jeremia, C 68 

1 8th. Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi, V .72 

22nd. Blessed Ambrose Sansedonio, C 75 


3rd. Stigmata of Saint Catharine of Siena, V. 78 

5th. Saint Vincent Ferrer, C 81 

9th. Blessed Anthony Pavone, M 85 

loth. Blessed Anthony Neyrot, M 87 

1 3th. Blessed Margaret of Castello, V 90 

I4th. Blessed Peter Gonzalez, C 94 

1 7th. Blessed Clara Gambacorti, W 96 

2Oth. Saint Agnes of Monte Pulciano, V. ... 100 
2ist. Blessed Bartholomew of Cerverio, M. . . .103 

26th. Blessed Dominic and Gregory, CC. . . . 106 

29th. Saint Peter, M. , . 107 

3oth. Saint Catharine of Siena, V u I 


5th. Saint Pius V., P.C 114 

loth. Saint Antoninus, B.C 118 

1 2th. Blessed Jane of Portugal, V 122 

1 3th. Blessed Albert of Bergamo, C J2 6 

1 4th. Blessed Egidius of Portugal, C 130 

20th. Blessed Columba of Rieti, V 133 

22nd. Saint Servatius, B.C., Protector of the Order . . 137 
23rd. Blessed Lewis Mary Grignon de Montfort, C. .139 
25th. Translation of the Relics of our Holy Father, Saint 

Dominic, C 142 

27th. Blessed Peter Sanz, B., and his Companions, MM. . 146 

28th. Blessed Maria Bartolomea Bagnesi, V. . . . 149 

29th. Blessed William and his Companions, MM. . . 152 

3ist. Blessed James Salomonio, C 155 


ist. Blessed Alfonso Navarrete and his Companions, 

MM , 59 

2nd. Blessed Sadoc and his Companions, MM. '*."> 163 
4th. Translation of the Relics of Saint Peter, M. . .166 

9th. Blessed Diana, Cecilia, and Amata, VV. :' . 168 

Contents ix 


loth. Blessed John Dominici, C 171 

1 2th. Blessed Stephen Bandelli, C 174 

1 8th. Blessed Osanna, V 175 

22nd. Blessed Innocent V., P.C 179 


3rd. Blessed Mark of Modena, C 182 

7th. Blessed Benedict XL, P.C 184 

9th. Saint John of Cologne and his Companions, MM. 187 
nth. Blessed Ignatius Delgado, Dominic Henares, BB., 

and their Companions, MM 191 

1 3th. Blessed James of Voragine, B.C 194 

1 8th. Blessed Ceslas, C 197 

22nd. Saint Mary Magdalen, Protectress of the Order . 201 

23rd. Blessed Jane of Orvieto, V 205 

27th. Blessed Augustine of Bugella, C 208 

28th. Blessed Anthony della Chiesa, C 210 

30th. Blessed Mannes, C 213 


2nd. Blessed Jane of Aza, Mother of Saint Dominic . 215 
4th. Our Holy Father Saint Dominic, C. . . .219 

8th. Blessed Augustine of Lucera, B.C 223 

9th. Blessed John of Salerno, C 226 

i6th. Saint Hyacinth, C 229 

1 7th. Blessed Emily Bicchieri, V 232 

23rd. Blessed James of Mevania, C. .... 236 

28th. Saint Augustine, B.C.D 239 

3oth. Saint Rose of Lima, V 243 


3rd. Blessed Guala, B.C. 247 

5th. Saint Catharine of Raconigi, V. . . . . 249 

6th. Blessed Bertrand of Garrigua, C 253 

1 5th. Commemoration of our Holy Father Saint Dominic, 

in Soriano . . . . . . . .256 

i6th. Blessed Imelda Lambertini, V. .... 259 

2oth. Blessed Francis Possadas, C 263 

26th. Blessed Dalmatius Moner, C 265 



ist Sunday of October. Feast of the Most Holy Rosary 268 

3rd. Blessed John Massias, C. 271 

4th. Saint Francis of Assisi, C 274 

5th. Blessed Raymund of Capua, C 278 

7th. Blessed Matthew Carrerii, C 281 

loth. Saint Lewis Bertrand, C. 284 

I2th. Blessed James of Ulm, C 287 

I4th. Blessed Magdalen Pannatieri, V 291 

22nd. Blessed Peter of Tiferno, C. . . . . . 294 

23rd. Blessed Bartholomew Breganza, B.C. . . .297 

26th. Blessed Damian Furcherio, C. .... 301 

29th. Blessed Benvenuta Bojani, V. . . , . .302 


3rd. Blessed Simon Ballachi, C 306 

5th. Blessed Martin Porres, C 309 

7th. Blessed Peter of Ruffia, M 313 

9th. All Saints of the Order 314 

I4th. Blessed John Liccio, C 318 

2nd Sunday in November. Patronage of our Blessed 

Lady 321 

1 5th. Blessed Albert the Great, B.C 323 

i6th. Blessed Lucy of Narni, V 327 

25th. Saint Catharine of Alexandria, V.M., Protectress of 

the Order 330 

27th. Blessed Margaret of Savoy, W 334 

29th. Blessed James Benefatti, B.C. .... 337 


1 6th. Blessed Sebastian Maggi, C 339 

22nd. Blessed Mary Mancini, W 342 



THIS book is an album of Dominican pictures. The 
pictures are word-painted and not limned in crayon 
or oil; they are drawn with a graphic pen and not 
painted with an artist's brush. They are pictures all 
the same lifelike, faithful, and true. Each chapter 
and there are nearly a hundred of them is a portrait, 
the original of which once lived in a Dominican cloister, 
in a Convent home, in an ancestral hall, in a princely 
or noble mansion, or, like Jesus at Nazareth, in a 
lowly cottage amongst simple, humble, working folk 
who earned their daily bread by the sweat of their 
brow. They are offered to the reader for his study, 
his admiration, and maybe even for his imitation. 
There are lights and shades in all these pictures, as 
there are lights and shades in every human life, if we 
except one, that was ever lived, or will be lived, from 
Eden to Jehosophat, from the dawn of creation to its 
doom. Each of these pictures tells its own story, each 
teaches its own lesson, each preaches its own sermon, 
each is a picture from life and from a holy life for 
each is the life of a Saint. The word Saint is used 
in its comprehensive sense. All, the stories of whose 
lives are here briefly told, are not canonized Saints. 
Some are only " Bead " or the beatified of Saint 
Dominic's Order. They await the Church's final seal. 
Not one of the very large number beatified by the 
voice of the people, but not as yet declared blessed 
by the voice of the Church, finds a place in this book. 

xii Introduction 

There are several portraits introduced into this Domini- 
can series over which Saint Dominic has no right or 
claim. They are painted here because they have a 
claim upon him and his, on account of signal services 
rendered to the Order in the hour of the Order's need. 
Saint Augustine of Hippo, whose Rule Saint Domi- 
nic adopted in accordance with the decree of the 
Fourth Lateran Council prohibiting the introduction of 
new religious Rules ; Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint 
Dominic's twin brother, "brought forth together by 
Holy Mother Church," as the old chronicler puts it, 
although their ways were divided and their lives were 
lived apart ; Saint Servatius, who, on a memorable 
occasion, did spiritual yeoman's service in the interest 
of Saint Dominic's sons; Saint Mary Magdalen, and 
Saint Catharine, the Virgin Martyr of Alexandria, 
each of whom is called " Protectrix of the Order," for 
reasons given in their respective Lives. To these are 
added two Feasts intimately connected with Dominican 
life and work the Feast of Our Lady's Patronage 
and the pre-eminently Dominican Feast of Rosary 

These Lives are necessarily " short," since all have 
to be compressed between the two covers of a single 
octavo volume. Their very brevity may add to their 
charm, and may induce many to read them. L'appetit 
vient en mangeant. Perhaps, having read these, they 
may be drawn to read other Lives of the same Saints 
which are more exhaustive than these, owing to the 
limited space allowed to each, can possibly be. Though 
necessarily miniatures, the pictures in this album are 
faithfully drawn drawn from life. The principal 
authorities from which the facts are taken are Marchese's 
u Diario Domenicano," the Lessons in the Dominican 
Breviary, and the excellent work, " L'Ann^e Domini- 
caine." Although the "Ann6e Dominicaine" already 

Introduction xiii 

numbers sixteen large volumes, the compilers have only 
as yet reached the end of the month of August. Conse- 
quently the writer of these little sketches has not had 
the invaluable help of that work in drawing up the 
histories of the Saints whose Feasts occur in the four 
months subsequent to August. For, as will be seen, 
the order followed in these short Lives is neither 
alphabetical nor chronological ; it is the one suggested 
by the Calendar of the Dominican rite. 

The lesson of the Lives is not far to seek ; the object 
of the writer, if hidden, is hidden behind a transparent 
veil. The short suggestive prayer at the end of each 
chapter reveals the design in the author's mind, the 
prayers being translations of the Collects said in the 
Mass on the Saint's Feast. 

" Pictoribus atque poetis 
Quidlibet audendi semper fuit aequa potestas" 

means that painters and poets have always had the 
power of daring whatever their fancy prompted. The 
" fancy " of the word-painter of this Dominican album 
was assuredly this to make the sainted children of 
Saint Dominic speak after death, preach by their lives, 
and carry on their apostolate amongst men. The book 
now offered to the pious reader is the result the 
happy result of this " daring." It is not a book of 
precepts ; it is a book of examples. It is not Christia- 
nity or the higher and perfect state of the Christian life 
in the abstract ; it is all this, but in the concrete. It is 
not a treatise on ascetic theology ; it is a record of the 
practice of ascetic theology, both in the cloister and in 
the world. It does not tell us what ought to be done ; 
it reveals to us what has been done. Synthetically it 
shows what can be done. It becomes more practical 
still it proves what we may do. 

There is no reading perhaps so dry, none that 

X1V Introduction 

appeals with so little force even to the omnivorous 
reader, as the reading of sermons, even though the 
sermons were preached by earnest and eloquent men. 
In the average library, sermon books remain uncut 
or are relegated to the highest shelves. Who reads 
the sermons of Saint Thomas, Saint Bernard, Saint 
Augustine, for reading's sake ? Who even unless he 
be a preacher is interested in Bossuet's once impas- 
sioned, now passionless, once eloquent, but now fire- 
less discourses, or in the Conferences of Lacordaire ? 
On the other hand, as the statistics of librarians will 
reveal, few books are more in request than books of 
biography. Biographical reading is almost invariably 
interesting, fascinating even, and absorbing sometimes, 
although the subject of the biography may not have 
been fascinating or absorbing in himself. Carlyle had 
experienced this when he wrote : " Biography is the 
most universally pleasant, the most universally profit- 
able of all reading." The books in a popular lending 
library which are on the lower shelves within easy 
reach, which are dog-eared and thumb-marked, are 
those which do not report words, but which recount 
deeds, which reproduce the living life of the living 
or the dead. The reason of this choice of books is 
simple. The printed sermon lacks life, the soul has 
gone from the words it passed away with the sound 
of the preacher's living voice. The sermon in the book 
is dead, and the book is its grave. The same in its 
degree may be said of a book of speeches. " Oh, that 
my enemy would write a book," especially if it be a 
book of his sermons, or even of his eloquent speeches ! 
Biography is not a record of words that are lifeless ; it 
is life re-lived in the imagination and mind of the 
reader. He whose life is read, " although he be dead, 
yet speaketh." The work of the biographer is akin to 
the art of the painter. The well- written biography, 


like a skilfully limned picture, opens the closed tomb, 
takes the dead by the hand, and makes him alive again. 
We see him, we hear him, we are almost sensible of 
his presence. Even in reading a readable novel, 
although we are assured by the author that the 
characters have no existence in real life, but are purely 
imaginary creations, they seem to live in our lives and 
form part of our living surroundings. We are inter- 
ested in them, in their sayings and their doings, even 
as though we heard and saw them. When the novel 
is finished, we are loth to part with them; it is like 
saying " Good-bye " to old friends. Much more is this 
true of those who are not creatures of the writer's 
imagination, but who once really lived as we now live, 
and in whose lives we have a practical interest. More 
especially, again, is this true if they whose lives are 
portrayed followed in their day the mode of life which 
we are following in ours, if they observed the Rule of 
which we make profession, if they were guided by the 
principles which guide us, and if they even wore the 
very dress which we are wearing as a symbol and 
a sign of the life, the principles, and the profession 
common to them and to ourselves. 

Hagiology is an apostolate. The hagiologist is 
an apostle. " Remember the days of old ; think upon 
every generation ; ask thy father and he will declare 
to thee, thy elders and they will tell thee " (Deut. xxii. 
17). The biographer recalls the days of old; he 
makes past generations, which are dead and buried, 
live again; he bids our fathers who have gone 
"declare" to us who remain; and under the potent 
spell of his facile pen our elders are constrained to 
tell us what was thought and said and done in the 
days whose night has now come. Hagiographers are 
the biographers of saints. Hagiology brings saints' lives 
within measurable distance of our own, and inspires 

xvi Introduction 

them to preach to us by the irresistible eloquence 
of example. A sermon is Christianity in theory, a 
saint's life is Christianity in practice. Practical men 
and we are all practical men in these practical days 
are affected more by the concrete than by the 
abstract gospel of truth. "An ounce of practice is 
worth a pound of preaching" is a proverb none the 
less true for being old. Every preacher knows, that, 
if his audience is getting restless, an anecdote from 
real life will recall their attention. " I remember," 
or " a few years ago," or " as I was coming to this 
church to-night, I met a young man," will command 
yes, command the ears and minds and rivet the 
attention, not only of children, but of " those grown 
old or who are growing old," when what is called 
"eloquence" will fail. It is the eloquence of living 
example which appeals to living men. The wise 
old Seneca said and wrote many a wise word, but 
none wiser than this, " Men believe their eyes rather 
than their ears." They are moved by deeds, whereas 
words, like a butterfly's wing, touch them in passing, 
but leave neither mark nor impression. Saint Augus- 
tine has the same idea, but he expresses it in a still 
more forcible way : " Vox verbi sonat ; vox exempli 
tonat," which we may freely translate, "You may 
hear the word formed by the voice ; you must hear 
the voice of the life;" or, literally, "The voice of a 
word sounds ; the voice of example THUNDERS." 

Saint Augustine was converted by "the voice of 
example." He tells us in the Eighth Book of his 
Confessions that "in the great contention of (his) 
inward dwelling" he turned to his friend Alypius 
and exclaimed: "What ails us? ... The un- 
learned start up and take heaven by force, whilst we, 
with our learning and without heart, lo ! where we 
wallow in flesh and blood ! Are we ashamed to follow 

Introduction xvii 

because others are gone before, and not ashamed not 
to follow ? " The future Saint gives us the answer 
before the end of the book. " Instantly ... by a 
light of serenity, as it were, infused into my heart, 
all the darkness of doubt vanished away." The 
opening of the next chapter or book of Confessions 
epitomizes his future life : " O Lord, I am Thy servant. 
I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid. 
Thou hast broken my bonds asunder. I will offer to 
Thee the sacrifice of praise." The two courtiers, 
the history of whose conversion led up to Saint 
Augustine's own consecration to God's service, were 
won to God by the chance reading in a little book 
the Life of Saint Anthony. 

Biography was the apostolate to which the Church 
is indebted for the change wrought in the worldly 
spirit of Ignatius of Loyola, and for the miracle of 
grace which made him a valiant champion of justice 
and truth. "A book of the Lives of our Saviour 
and the Saints was brought him. He read them 
at first only to pass away the time." He "admired 
their love of solitude and of the Cross." Then came 
"the firm resolution to imitate the Saints." Finally, 
he himself became a saint, a warrior-saint in the 
army of the Lord, and the captain of a company of 
saints whose name is " legion." In reading the life- 
stories of God's servants, we are not merely listening 
to the words of holy men; we are watching their 
actions, and so we are awakened from our sleep by 
the "thunder" of their example. It has been said, 
"Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight 
for it, die for it anything but live for it." In 
Christian biography we have the convincing evidence 
of those who lived for religion. 

This is the testimony of the pages which follow these 
words. The writer of these pages, the painter of 


xviii Introduction 

these word-pictures, in presenting to us the words 
and ways of the saintly children of Saint Dominic, 
has given us all something to think about ; more than 
that something to do, viz., to realize in our own 
lives the ideals portrayed in the Saints' lives. Saint 
Augustine reminds us that it is an easy and simple 
thing to honour a martyr, but that it is a greater 
and better thing to imitate his faith and his patience. 
Saint John Chrysostom goes beyond this, and tells 
us that one who is edified by the meritorious life of a 
saint ought to take delight in following him in his 
service of God, and that, to be consistent, if he will 
not imitate the saint's life, he ought not to praise 
it. In looking through the Lives almost a hundred 
in number briefly and yet pithily recorded in this 
volume, is there not one, gentle reader, which comes 
home to you ? Is there none that appeals to you ? 
Not one which seems to have been what your life might 
be, ought to be, may be shall I add, will be ? 

In a palace at Wurzburg there is a room lined 
with mirrors. Wherever you look, you see yourself 
reflected in the clear crystal. In this Dominican 
album which you hold in your hand there is a series 
of pictures which are at the same time mirrors. Is 
there not one in which you may see yourself reflected ? 
not perhaps as you are, but what you once were ; 
what you have fallen from ; what you may rise to ; 
what you may be again ? There are mirror-pictures 
for all for young, for aged, for those in middle life ; 
for the priest and for the layman ; for the cloistered 
nun and for the lady living in the world; for the 
religious praying in the choir or studying in his cell, 
and for the man of the world in the busy marts of life ; 
for the disciple and the professor ; for the sorrowful and 
the glad of heart ; for the learned and the unlettered ; 
for the tepid and the fervent ; for the laggard and the 

Introduction xix 

sluggard, as well as for the hero and the saint. All 
have a place in this volume of Dominican portraits. 
They were not all saints always ; they were not all 
consistently and persistently holy ; but all became 
saints, all died saints, and all are now saints in the 
kingdom of saints. As we look at these pictures, the 
question which appealed with such unerring force to 
Saint Augustine appeals with equal force to us : " Canst 
thou not what these youths, what these maidens can ? 
Or can they either in themselves, and not rather in the 
Lord their God ? " (Conf. Bk. viii. n. xi.). If we cannot 
imitate all, we can assuredly imitate some. As we 
scan their faces and study their lives, we can hardly 
fail to find whoever and whatever we may be a 
model which we could choose as our ideal. They were 
all men or women, either young or older ; they were 
all made in the same mould and of the same flesh and 
blood and human spirit as we ; each had passions to 
conquer and overcome, concupiscences to master and 
subdue, an unbridled tongue to curb, an untamed 
nature to tame, bodily senses which "weighed down 
the soul ; " each lived in a " world set in iniquity," as 
is our world to-day. Some were in our position of life, 
whatever that may be; some suffered from the very 
temptations which are buffeting us ; some were of our 
age, and had a character, a temperament, like our own ; 
some lived in our land perhaps in our home. " Quod 
isti et istce? Canst thou not what these youths, 
what these maidens can ? " " Cast thyself upon Him ; 
fear not; He will not withdraw Himself that thou 
shouldst fall. Cast thyself fearlessly upon Him; 
He will receive and heal thee." God has given us the 
same helps and aids which He gave to them prayer, 
penance, the Sacraments, the intercession of Mary and 
the Saints. He only exacts of us what He exacted 
of them self-denial, contempt of the world, purity 



of mind, heart, and life, and union with Himself. Walk- 
ing in their steps, imitating their ways, we may be as 
they were, and eventually as they are. Quod isti et 
ista we can do what these youths, these maidens did. 
We are apt to put the Saints on pedestals, like 
Simeon Stylites, high up on a lofty pillar which we 
cannot reach, with aureolas about their heads which 
would not fit us, and a halo of sanctity around them 
which apparently would ill become us. In reading these 
Lives the Saints come down from their pillars ; they 
remove the aureola and hide the halo ; and they be- 
come what we are, or what we may be. How natural 
these pictures are, and how consolingly natural they 
reveal the Saints to have been, even in the midst of 
the supernatural lives which they led ! Grace does not 
dethrone nature and rule in its stead ; it is superadded 
to nature, and, without destroying nature, lifts it up, 
and supernaturalizes it, and refines it, and sanctifies it. 
God in giving grace does not annihilate His former 
work; He only perfects it. As a wise architect, He 
builds upon the foundations which He has already 
firmly laid. "The Son of Man came not to destroy 
but to save " (Luke ix. 56). ; " Not to destroy the 
law, but to fulfil it " (Matt. v. 17). Nature and 
nature's laws remain ; grace only perfects and exalts 
them. " Excelsior " is the motto of the Saint, and 
he rises above nature. Sursum corda is God's com- 
mand to His servants, and their answer comes : 
Habemus ad Dominum. The heart is there ; it re- 
mains a human heart with human passions, human 
affections, human love; but it is "lifted up to God." 
Throughout this book we see this exemplified almost on 
its every page, and we see it for our own encouragement. 
God works through nature; grace perfects, but does 
not destroy nature and nature's gifts. All that God, 
through grace, destroys, is sin. Saint Dominic was a 


man of a deeply earnest nature; he consecrated his 
earnestness to God and it became zeal. Saint Thomas 
Aquinas would have been great and distinguished in 
any branch of study, in science, medicine, or law ; he 
devoted himself to sacred lore, directed his talents to 
God, and so became a Saint and a Doctor of the 
Church. Saint Vincent Ferrer was " orator natus" a 
born orator ; he remained an orator whilst becoming a 
Saint ; and, consecrating by grace his oratorical power 
to God and the salvation of souls, he became an 
oecumenical preacher of the Divine Word and the 
spiritual father of Saints. Saint Antoninus might 
have been an eminent lawyer, great in the esteem of 
men ; he used nature's gift for God and in the service 
of the Church, and became instead an eminent canonist 
and a chosen servant of Heaven. Saint Rose of Lima, 
beautiful of feature and of a refined and gentle nature, 
might have wedded whom she would. She did wed whom 
she would; she espoused Jesus Christ. Saint Catharine 
of Siena had a large loving heart ; she might have loved 
creatures, or she might have been drawn by her loving 
heart to sin ; but she gave that human heart with its 
human love to God, and He give her His Heart in 
return. Blessed Henry Suso's history is instructive. 
He was human oh ! so human ! read his Life as it is 
written in this book and you will see what I mean ; and 
yet he became, without ceasing to be human shall I 
say it ? divine, a man of God, a mystic of mystics, 
the patron and pattern of ascetic Saints even to our 
own time. 

" Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven 
is like to the master of a house, who bringeth forth out 
of his treasury new things and old" (Matt. xiii. 52). 
The "scribe" of this volume has had this Gospel 
maxim in view. It is not the Life of a Saint, but a 
collection of Lives of Saints ; it is not a picture, but an 

xxii Introduction 

album of pictures ; it is not a single mirror, but a room 
lined with mirrors. We must all see ourselves some- 
where ; we must find a picture in the album which we 
ought to resemble. We must all, amongst so many 
Lives, find one at least which may be our ideal. Saint 
Raymund, the aged canonist of well-nigh five score, 
preaches to the old. Saint Rose of Lima, dying at the 
age of thirty-one, and Blessed Imelda, at the age of 
eleven, are models for the young. The high-born and 
the leisured class may find a pattern in Blessed Jane of 
Portugal ; the lowly born and the man of toil in Blessed 
Albert of Bergamo. The religious woman in the 
cloister has only to look to the Life of Saint Catharine 
of Ricci and try to^ copy that life in her own. The 
woman living in the world may take Blessed Margaret 
of Castello as her model and her guide. The lay- 
brother and the lay-sister will read a lesson in the Lives 
of Blessed Martin Porres and Blessed James of Ulm. 
The religious man working for the souls of others as 
well as for his own may look where he will, he will 
find everywhere something to learn. The man in the 
world who wishes not to be of the world is not without 
his ideal layman. The chronic sufferer from ill-health 
will find a model of patience in Blessed Maria Barto- 
lomea. The lawyer, much abused of men, may gaze 
upon the portrait of Blessed Peter di Jeremia, and see 
whether the picture becomes a mirror. The artist 
the Catholic artist who paints not only for gold but 
for God, will find encouragement in the words of Blessed 
Lawrence of Ripafratta to Fra Angelico and Fra 
Benedetto, the artist brothers, both sons of Saint 
Dominic, who are still Friar Preachers, preaching by 
their paintings with an eloquence beyond the eloquence 
of words. The sailor has his patron, if not his pattern, 
in Blessed Gonzalez, better known as Saint Telmo. 
To the lady of fashion the life of Blessed Villana 

Introduction xxiii 

will appeal with greater force than the sermons of 
Savonarola or Segneri on the vanity of a worldly life. 
That least of little men, the vain and conceited man, 
may learn a lesson from the same Blessed Gonzalez 
and his fall. Even the apostate who is repentant has 
his patron in Blessed Anthony Neyrot, first a Domi- 
nican, then an apostate from the faith, then a convert, 
and finally a martyr for the faith which he had re- 
nounced. The choice is here; it is for the reader to 
choose; and when he has chosen, it is for him to 
study, to admire, and to imitate the patron and pattern 
of his choice. 




Blessed Gonsaluo of flmaramba, Confessor 

(A.D. 1187-1259) 

GONSALVO or Gundisalvus was a native of Portugal, Jan. 10 
and was born of noble parents about A.D. 1187. 
When he was carried to the font, the bystanders 
observed that the infant fixed his eyes on the crucifix 
with a look of extraordinary love. Whenever, in after 
life, the child was fretful or ill, if his mother showed 
him some holy image, it immediately soothed him and 
he would hold out his arms to embrace it. When he 
grew up, he entered the ecclesiastical state, and was 
given a rich benefice by the Archbishop of Braga. 
After discharging the duties attached to this post with 
the utmost fidelity for some years, Gonsalvo felt a 
great desire to visit the Holy Land as a pilgrim, and 
obtained leave to commit the care of his parish during 
his absence to one of his nephews. 

He spent fourteen years in pilgrimage, at the end of 
which time he returned to Portugal and hastened to 
his home. To his sorrow he found that his nephew 
had fallen into evil ways and was leading a life 
of riot and dissipation. The young man had long 


Dominican Saints 

Jan. 10 believed that his uncle was dead, and, not recognising 
him in the ragged and wayworn pilgrim who came to 
his gate begging for alms, he drove him away with 
curses and blows. Gonsalvo did not make himself 
known, but, retiring to a solitary place, built a little 
hermitage, where he led an austere life, employing him- 
self in preaching missions in the surrounding villages. 
The fame of his sanctity soon spread. Gonsalvo, how- 
ever, felt that his true vocation had not yet been made 
manifest to him. One night, as he slept at the foot of 
the altar in his little hermitage, the Blessed Virgin 
appeared to him and commanded him to enter that 
religious Order wherein her Office began and ended 
with the Ave Maria. On awakening, Gonsalvo could 
remember no Order where this custom prevailed ; but 
he resolved at once to set out in search of the institute 
to which the voice of Our Lady had called him. He 
passed through a great part of Spain and Portugal, 
visiting convent after convent, before he could find the 
one which he sought. Arriving at length at the newly- 
founded Dominican Convent of Guimares, of which 
Blessed Peter Gonzalez was then prior, he asked for a 
night's hospitality ; and, as he was retiring to rest, he 
heard the Brethren, according to their custom, reciting 
the Office of Our Lady in the Dormitory. It began 
with the Ave Maria, and Gonsalvo listened anxiously 
for the conclusion, in the hope that he should receive 
an assurance that his search had ended and that his 
faith and obedience were about to be rewarded. His 
ear soon caught the welcome sound of the Angelic 
Salutation, repeated at the close also of the Office, and 
he at once begged for the habit and was admitted into 
the Order. 

After his profession, he was allowed to return with 
a companion to his old hermitage at Amarantha, whence 
he went forth, as before, to preach in the surrounding 

Dominican Saints 

towns and villages. He built a bridge, partly with his J^. 10 
own hands, over the river Tamaga, which flowed near 
his hermitage. Many persons had lost their lives in 
attempting to ford this river; Gonsalvo therefore 
undertook the difficult task of constructing the bridge 
purely as a work of charity. God marked His ap- 
proval of His servant's labours by many miracles. On 
one occasion, provisions failing him and the peasants 
who worked with him, Gonsalvo went to the river-side 
and made the sign of the Cross ; after which he called 
the fishes to him and a great number obeyed his voice. 
Coming to the shore and leaping about, as if to show 
their goodwill, they suffered him to take them alive 
with his hands ; and, when he had secured as many as 
he required, he dismissed the others with his blessing. 

On another occasion, when he was preaching to the 
people, desiring to make them understand the effect of 
the Church's censures upon the soul, he excommuni- 
cated a basket of bread and the loaves at once became 
black and corrupt. Then, to show that the Church 
can restore to her communion those who humbly 
acknowledge their fault, he removed the excommuni- 
cation and the loaves recovered their whiteness and 
their wholesome savour. 

Gonsalvo died A.D. 1259. Many miracles were 
worked through his intercession. In the year 1400, 
during a terrible inundation of the Tamaga, he was 
seen turning aside some oak trees which, borne along 
by the raging stream, threatened the destruction of his 
bridge. In the year 1540, his chapel and hermitage 
came into the possession of the Order. Pope Pius 
IV. gave permission for the Mass and Office of Blessed 
Gonsalvo to be celebrated in all the territories de- 
pendent on the crown of Portugal, a privilege which 
was afterwards extended by Clement X. to the entire 
Dominican Order. 

Dominican Saints 


Jan. 10 O God, who didst wonderfully enkindle in the mind 
of the Blessed Confessor Gonsalvo the love of Thy 
holy name, grant, we beseech Thee, that, following 
closely in his footsteps, we may ever think of Thee 
and may with ardent desire do the things which are 
pleasing to Thee. Who livest and reignest, world 
without end. Amen. 


Blessed Stephana Quitizatii, Virgin 

(A.D. 1457-1530) 

Jan. 16 STEPHANA QUINZANI was born A.D. 1457, at a 
little village in : the neighbourhood of Brescia in Italy. 
Her parents were of the middle class in life and were 
both of them fervent in the practice of their religious 
duties. From her earliest childhood little Stephana 
continually heard an interior voice repeating to her 
the words, " Charity, charity, charity ! " When only 
five years old she consecrated herself to God with 
her whole heart, and at the age of seven she made 
the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, 
adding a promise to assume later on the habit of the 
Third Order of Saint Dominic, to which her father be- 
longed. Our Lord then appeared to her, accompanied 
by His Blessed Mother, Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas 
Aquinas, and Saint Catharine of Siena, and espoused 
her to Himself, bestowing on her a magnificent ring, 
which was seen by many persons. 

About this time, the Quinzani family removed to 
Soncino and Stephana placed herself under the 
spiritual direction of Blessed Matthew Carreri of the 

Dominican Saints 

Order of Saint Dominic, who one day told her that at Jan. 16 
his death he should make her his heiress. The child 
did not then understand the meaning of these words, 
but, when the servant of God departed this life, she 
felt her heart painfully and mysteriously wounded, 
and at the same time Blessed Matthew appeared to 
her and explained that this was the inheritance he 
had promised to her. 

When about twelve years old, she went to hear a 
sermon on the Feast of Saint Andrew. That great 
Apostle appeared to her in vision, holding in his 
hands a large cross, and addressed her in the follow- 
ing words : " Behold, my daughter, the way to heaven. 
Love God, fear God, honour God ; flee from the 
world and embrace the Cross." Love of the Cross 
became thenceforth her characteristic virtue, so that 
it was said of her that there were but two things 
for which she bore an affection, namely, Holy Com- 
munion and sufferings. In all her visions the Cross 
bore a remarkable part, and she gave herself up, not 
only to the practice of the severest austerities, but to 
an almost uninterrupted meditation on the Passion 
of her Divine Spouse. She was even permitted in 
some degree to undergo His sufferings in her own 
person, participating on Fridays in a mysterious 
manner in our Lord's agony and sweat of blood, His 
scourging at the pillar, His crowning with thorns, 
and His crucifixion. Her confessor, who wrote her 
life, testified to having seen the sacred stigmata on 
her hands and feet, and the marks of the crown of 
thorns upon her head. 

In one of her raptures she was given to understand 
that all the angels and saints together, including even 
Our Blessed Lady herself, are unable to love God as 
much as He deserves to be loved. Then an abyss 
of love opened before her eyes, and she cried out, 

Dominican Saints 

Jan. 16 tl O my Lord and Redeemer, grant me the grace to 
love all this love ; otherwise I care not to live." But 
Our Lord smiled upon her and told her that her wish 
was an impossible one, as her finite will could not 
embrace that abyss of infinite love. Nevertheless, to 
comfort her, He said that He would accept her good- 
will, as though she really loved to the extent to which 
she desired, adding, " Think not that this great abyss 
of love remains unloved ; for, if creatures cannot love 
it, it is loved by Me, who am infinite good." 

When, for the love of God, Blessed Stephana had 
made an entire renunciation of her own will in the 
hands of her Confessor, Our Lord appeared to her 
and said, " My daughter, since for the love of Me thou 
hast generously stripped thyself of thine own will, 
ask what thou wilt and I will grant it to thee." The 
Holy Virgin replied almost in the words used by Saint 
Thomas Aquinas under similar circumstances "I 
desire nothing but Thyself, O Lord." 

At the age of fifteen Stephana received the habit of 
the Third Order of Saint Dominic, from which time she 
devoted herself to the care of the sick and poor in 
the hospitals and to every kind of active charity. 
Our Lord was pleased to work many miracles by her 
hands, multiplying food and money and restoring the 
sick to health. Her reputation for sanctity extended 
far and wide. The Republic of Venice and the Duke 
of Mantua pressed her to come and found Convents in 
their territories ; but she refused, in the hope of being 
able to establish one in Soncino. This she was at 
length able to accomplish, placing it under the invo- 
cation of Saint Paul the Apostle and peopling it with 
a fervent Community of thirty, whom she had carefully 
trained to the practices of the religious life. In con- 
sequence of the war between France and Venice the 
nuns were obliged, after a time, to withdraw from 

Dominican Saints 

their Convent and take shelter within the walls of Jan. 16 
the town. 

It was during this interval that Blessed Stephana 
passed to her reward on 2nd January, A.D. 1530, at 
the age of seventy-three. She was laid to rest in the 
church attached to her Convent, to which her Commu- 
nity was afterwards able to return. It is, however, 
now suppressed, but Blessed Stephana is still held in 
great veneration by the people of Soncino. She was 
beatified by Pope Benedict XIV. in the year 1740. 


O God, who didst enkindle Blessed Stephana, Thy 
Virgin, with the love of the Crucified, and didst in a 
wonderful manner render her a sharer in His Passion, 
grant, we beseech Thee, that by her intercession and 
example, we may deserve to be made conformable to 
the image of Thy Son. Through ( the same Jesus 
Christ, our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Hndreu) or Pescbtera, Confessor 

(Died A.D. 1485) 

ANDREW GREGG was born at the beginning of the Jan. 19 
fifteenth century at Peschiera, a small town in the 
diocese of Verona, on the shores of Lake Garda in the 
north of Italy. Even in childhood he was remarkable 
for his prayer and abstinence and he always fasted 
during the whole of Lent on bread and water. He 
was equally admirable for his charity to the poor and 
his perfect obedience to his father. Finding it im- 
possible to carry out his ardent wish to retire to some 
hermitage, he lived a mortified and religious life at 

Dominican Saints 

Jan. 19 home. His brothers, however, conceived a strange 
hatred for him, and, as soon as their father was dead, 
they began to persecute and ill-treat him. He bore 
all their injuries with unalterable patience until the day 
he resolved to enter the cloister. On this occasion 
they accompanied him to the gates of the town, and 
Andrew, before taking leave of them, knelt down and 
humbly kissed their feet. The only property he had 
taken with him out of his father's house was a stick, 
which he now returned to his brothers, declaring them 
heirs to everything over which he had any claim, and 
begging them to keep the stick in memory of him 
and never to give it away. It was laid aside in a 
corner of the house, where, on occasion of his holy 
death, some years afterwards, it miraculously flowered, 
and many prodigies were worked by its instrument- 

Blessed Andrew received the Dominican habit in the 
Convent of Brescia, and was thence sent to Saint Mark's 
at Florence. Trained to the exercises of the religious 
life by Blessed Anthony della Chiesa, he soon became 
distinguished for perfection in every virtue. His life 
was one of incessant apostolic labour amongst the Alpine 
regions of Northern Italy. These districts were at 
that time infested by heretics who had revived the 
errors of the Manichees, and Blessed Andrew, by his 
zeal and by the great number of souls whom he con- 
verted, gained for himself the title of " the Apostle of 
the Valteline," i.e. the valley watered by the river 

On one occasion, when he was disputing with the 
heretics, they produced a large volume full of blas- 
phemous errors against the Catholic devotion to the 
Saints. Blessed Andrew bade them open the book 
and see what it contained. They did so, and there 
issued forth an enormous viper, as though to bear wit- 

Dominican Saints 

ness to the venomous poison found in those heretical Jan. 19 

He had a most tender devotion to the Passion of 
our Lord, and in all the ancient pictures of him he is 
represented with a crucifix. In the chapel dedicated 
to him at Peschiera he is depicted standing near a 
crucifix, whence there issues a ray of light which 
pierces his heart. This is believed to refer to some 
miraculous favour received by Blessed Andrew whilst 
contemplating the sufferings of Our Lord. On Fridays 
he was always accustomed to wear a crown of sharp 
thorns, which he dexterously concealed under his 

Besides founding many orphanages and refuges for 
the destitute, Blessed Andrew caused several churches 
and monasteries to be erected and the number of 
parishes to be increased in the wild regions which 
were the scene of his labours. In particular, he 
procured the foundation of the celebrated Convent oi 
Morbegno to serve as a rampart against heresy and 
vice ; and thither he was wont to retire from time to 
time in the intervals of his apostolate to refresh his 
spirit by the exercises of prayer and contemplation. 
Such was his humility that he would accept of no post 
of dignity amongst his brethren, exercising only the 
humble office of going out begging for the support of 
the Community. 

In his apostolic work for souls, which he carried on 
to an extreme old age, he fearlessly braved the dangers 
of glaciers, avalanches, and precipices; nothing ever 
daunted his courage. His penance was rugged and 
severe. His love of poverty was a passion. He 
laboured among the poor ; his food was the common 
fare of the needy, chestnuts, barley bread, and water. 
He was called the " Father of the poor." 

Blessed Andrew closed his saintly life by a holy 

io Dominican Saints 

Jan. 19 death in the midst of his brethren at Morbegno in the 
year 1485. His remains have twice been solemnly 
translated. He was beatified by Pius VII., A.D. 1820. 


O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst adorn Blessed 
Andrew, Thy Confessor, with the apostolic spirit, 
grant us, in imitation of him, so to benefit others, both 
by word and example, as to reap abundant fruit. 
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. 


Saint Raptnuna of PcnnaTort, Confessor 

(A.D. II7S-I27S) 

Jan. 23 THIS great Saint was born in Spain, at the castle of 
Pennafort, six leagues distant from Barcelona, A.D. 
1175. He belonged to a noble family, allied to the 
former Counts of Barcelona and to the kings of Aragon. 
Entering the ecclesiastical state, he left his native land 
to go and study at the celebrated University of Bologna. 
Having taken his doctor's degree in civil and canon 
law, he began to teach with great applause in that city* 
After some time, the Bishop of Barcelona persuaded 
him to return to Spain, and made him one of the 
canons of his cathedral. But Raymund thirsted after 
a closer union with God, and on Good Friday, A.D. 
1222, at the age of forty-seven, he begged to be ad- 
mitted into the Order of Saint Dominic. It is said that 
he was moved to take this step partly by remorse for 
having once dissuaded a young man, who consulted 
him, from joining a religious Order. 

From this time he increased in holiness of life, and 
was the means of leading very many to leave the 

Dominican Saints 

world and take the Dominican habit. He became Jan. 23 
Confessor to King James of Aragon, and was greatly 
distinguished for his skill in settling cases of conscience. 
At the command of his superiors, he drew up a book 
on this subject, which was the first ever written of the 
kind. It bears his name, " Raimundina." 

The Moors were at this time exercising great cruel- 
ties upon their Christian captives in Spain. On the 
night of the 1st of August, A.D. 1223, as Raymund 
was praying for these unhappy prisoners, our Lady 
appeared to him and told him that it was her will that 
a religious Order should be founded for their relief. 
On the same night, the Queen of Heaven made a 
similar revelation to King James of Aragon and to Saint 
Peter Nolasco, a penitent of Saint Raymund's, who for 
some years had devoted himself to this work of charity, 
and who was destined to be the founder of the new Order 
of Our Lady of Mercy for the redemption of captives. 
Its statutes were drawn up by Saint Raymund, who 
with his own hands gave the habit to Saint Peter 
Nolasco. It resembled exactly that of the Order to 
which he himself belonged, save that the mantle was 
white and the scapular emblazoned with the royal 
arms of Aragon. 

Saint Raymund was now summoned to Rome by 
Gregory IX., where he became Confessor to the Holy 
Father and Grand Penitentiary. In obedience to the 
Pope's command, he collected all the Decretals, i.e. the 
decrees and replies of the Sovereign Pontiffs to ques- 
tions which had been submitted to the Holy See, and 
he added explanations to those the meaning of which 
seemed obscure. He accomplished this gigantic task 
in the short space of three years. The Pope twice 
named him to an Archbishopric, but the Saint each 
time succeeded in obtaining his release from an honour 
which would have been painful to his humility. 

12 Dominican Saints 

Jan. 23 After the lamented death of Blessed Jordan, the 
first successor of Saint Dominic, Saint Raymund was 
elected Master-General of the Order by the Chapter of 
Bologna, A.D. 1238. During the two years of his govern- 
ment, the Saint made some admirable regulations, and 
divided the Constitutions into two parts, the first 
relating to the religious life of the Brethren and 
the second to their external life, their duties, and 
offices. At the General Chapter of A.D. 1240, he pre- 
vailed on the electors to accept his resignation on the 
plea of ill-health and infirmity ; but so great was the 
grief of the entire Order at losing their saintly superior, 
that a subsequent General Chapter inflicted severe 
penances and absolution from office on all those who 
had accepted this resignation. 

The Saint lived thirty-five years after he had given 
up office, leading a most saintly existence in his con- 
vent at Barcelona. Almost every night his guardian 
angel awoke him before Matins and summoned him to 
prayer. He laboured incessantly to procure the con- 
version of the Moors, as well as of Jews and heretics, 
and it was at his request that Saint Thomas Aquinas 
composed his Summa contra Gentiles. He accom- 
panied King James of Aragon in his expedition to the 
island of Majorca and boldly rebuked him for giving 
public scandal. Finding his remonstrances of no 
effect, the Saint prepared to return to his Convent at 
Barcelona. The King endeavoured to retain him on 
the island by force ; but Saint Raymund, in presence of 
a multitude of spectators, threw his mantle on the sea, 
fastened the end of it to his staff, which served as a 
mast, and kneeling upon it, as if in a boat, he crossed 
in this way to the mainland, accomplishing the pas- 
sage, a distance of about a hundred miles, in six hours. 
On reaching Barcelona, he quietly took up his mantle, 
which was perfectly dry, and returned to his Convent. 

Dominican Saints 13 

The doors were closed, as it was the hour of the mid- Jan. 23 
day siesta, but the Saint found himself miraculously 
transported within the walls and thus escaped from 
the acclamations of the admiring crowd who had wit- 
nessed his landing. The King was so touched by the 
miracle that he renounced his evil courses and thence- 
forth led a good life. 

Saint Raymund was universally regarded as the 
greatest ecclesiastic of his time. At length, worn out 
by age, infirmities, and penances, he happily departed 
to our Lord on the Feast of the Epiphany, A.D. 1275, 
being in his hundredth year. Numerous prodigieswere 
worked at his tomb, whence issued a miraculous dust 
which restored health to many persons. He was 
beatified by Pope Paul V., and canonized by Pope 
Clement VIII., A.D. 1601. 


O God, who didst choose Blessed Raymund to be a 
glorious minister of the Sacrament of Penance and 
didst lead him in a wonderful manner across the waves 
of the sea, grant that, by his intercession, we may 
bring forth worthy fruits of penance, and may succeed 
in reaching the haven of eternal salvation. Through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed fRarcolino of J orli, Confessor 


BLESSED MARCOLINO AMANNI was born at the little Jan. 24 
town of Forli in Italy, A.D. 1317. He was not gifted 
with great talents, but from his earliest years was re- 
markable for his holiness of life. At the age of ten he 

14 Dominican Saints 

Jan. 24 abandoned the world and consecrated himself to God 
in the Dominican Order. He was so great a lover of 
solitude that he never left his cell or the Convent with- 
out necessity. He led a most penitential life and one 
of almost uninterrupted prayer; he spoke but little 
and was always attentive to the wants of his Brethren 
and ready to render them any service in his power. 
Humility and simplicity were his characteristic virtues, 
and he strove to conceal the supernatural favours 
granted him by God. His devotion in celebrating 
Mass was very great ; he often went into an ecstasy 
whilst offering the Holy Sacrifice. Some, who treated 
this holy and simple man with contempt, used to say 
that he went to sleep at those times; hence he was 
closely watched, and the supernatural character of 
these ecstasies was clearly manifested. 

He always sought to take the lowest place, and, 
unless prevented, would not take his meals in the 
refectory, but in the kitchen with the servants. He 
ever loved the company of children and was a favourite 
with them from his gentle and winning ways. He 
bore a tender devotion to our Blessed Lady, and a 
statue of her, which he had in his cell, is said to have 
spoken to him several times. In consequence of his 
fervour and exact observance of the rule, he was em- 
ployed by Blessed Raymund of Capua in the reform of 
the Order after the ravages of the Black Death, and he 
succeeded in re-establishing regular discipline in several 
. Convents. 

He died at the age of eighty, A.D. 1397. Scarcely 
had he breathed his last when an unknown child of 
entrancing beauty, supposed to have been an angel, 
was seen hurrying through the streets, exclaiming, 
11 Hasten to the Convent of the Friars Preachers ; the 
Blessed Father Marcolino is just dead." The people, 
obeying the summons, flocked to the Convent and 

Dominican Saints 

their faith and devotion were rewarded by many Jan. 24 
miracles. Blessed Marcolino was beatified by Bene- 
dict XIV., A.D. 1750. 


O God, who art ever pleased by the prayer of the 
meek and humble, grant us so to profit by the prayers 
and example of Blessed Marcolino, that, becoming 
truly meek and humble, we may more easily obtain 
Thy gifts. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Margaret or fiungarp, Virgin 

(A.D. 1242-1270) 

IN the year 1242, Hungary was governed by a devout Jan. 26 
king, Bela IV. His territories were overrun by hordes 
of Tartars, whose sacrileges and cruelties filled the entire 
kingdom with scenes of bloodshed and violence. In 
their distress, Bela and his Queen vowed to dedicate 
their first daughter to the service of God, if He would 
grant them victory over their enemies. Then, full of 
trust in the Divine goodness, Bela led his little army 
against the Tartars, who were utterly defeated and 
driven from the country. Margaret's birth occurred 
shortly afterwards, and in consequence of her parents' 
vow she was taken to the Dominican Convent of Ves- 
prim when only three years old. Even at that ten- 
der age she showed extraordinary signs of devotion. 
In less than six months she knew the Office of Our 
Lady by heart, merely from hearing the Sisters recite 
it. She was clothed in the religious habit on her 
fourth birthday, on which occasion she was shown a 
crucifix, and she asked for some explanation of the 

1 6 Dominican Saints 

Jan. 26 sacred symbol. On hearing that it represented Jesus 
Christ, who shed His blood for us even to the last 
drop, she immediately covered it with kisses, exclaim- 
ing, " Lord, I give and abandon myself to Thee for 
ever." Her parents built a magnificent monastery for 
her in an island of the Danube, about a mile from 
Buda, and hither she removed with several other 
Sisters when she had attained the age of ten. When 
she was twelve years old, she made her solemn pro- 
fession in the hands of Blessed Humbert, the General 
of the Order. Her parents afterwards obtained a 
Papal dispensation in order to marry her to the King 
of Bohemia, but this only gave Margaret an opportu- 
nity of showing that her religious life was the result of 
her own free choice, for no prayers or entreaties would 
induce her to quit the cloister. In order to protect 
herself from further annoyances of this kind, she was 
solemnly veiled and consecrated to God according to 
the rite given in the Roman Pontifical, in presence of 
the Archbishop of Strigonia and a number of other 
prelates. This ceremony took place at the altar of her 
aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. 

Blessed Margaret looked upon herself as the vilest 
person in the Convent and rendered the most menial 
services, not only to her Sisters, but even to the ser- 
vants. It was her delight to wash the dishes, sweep 
the house, and discharge the lowliest domestic duties. 
She had a tender love for the poor and wept when she 
had no alms to bestow on them. But it was above all 
upon her sick Sisters that she poured forth the trea- 
sures of her charity, claiming it as her right to render 
them all the most loathsome and repulsive services 
which their condition might require. 

Her life was one of continual prayer and hard 
labour and she practised the most austere penance. 
Her tender love for her Divine Spouse made her hunger 

Dominican Saints 17 

after a share in His sufferings and humiliations, and she Jan. 26 
often compelled her companions to scourge her with piti- 
less severity. Her habit was worn out at the knees and 
elbows by her continual genuflexions and prostrations. 
She thirsted for martyrdom, and, on hearing a rumour 
that the Tartars were about to invade Hungary, she 
exclaimed, " I pray God that my father's kingdom may 
be spared so terrible a scourge ; nevertheless, if they 
are to come, I trust they will come here, that we may 
receive our crown at their hands." Her love for our 
Blessed Lady was so great, that, at the mere sound of 
the name of Mary, she would fall upon her knees and 
bow her head to the dust, to do honour to her whom 
she delighted in saluting as " the Mother of God and 
my hope." 

Blessed Margaret died at the early age of twenty- 
eight. Almost innumerable miracles have been worked 
through her intercession. Petitions were repeatedly 
presented to the Holy See for her beatification ; and 
Pius VII. extended to the Order of St. Dominic the 
permission to celebrate her festival, which was already 
kept in many churches. 


O God, the rewarder of faithful souls, who didst 
enrich Thy holy Virgin, the Blessed Margaret, with 
spiritual gifts and eternal joys for her perfect renuncia- 
tion and constant mortification, grant that we, through 
her prayers and example, may destroy the vices of 
the flesh, despise all earthly things, and so attain to 
everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


1 8 Dominican Saints 


translation of tfce Relics or Saint CDotnas 

Aquinas, Confessor ana Doctor 

of tfte Cfturcft 

Jan. 28 THE great luminary of the Church, Saint Thomas 
Aquinas, departed this life at the Benedictine Abbey 
of Fossa Nuova, when on his way to the General 
Council of Lyons, and his sacred remains were in- 
terred there until such time as the Master-General of 
the Dominicans should determine to what Convent 
they were to be removed. The Benedictines were 
resolved not to part with the treasure; hence they 
secretly removed the body by night from the cloister 
where it had been buried and laid it in the Chapel of 
Saint Stephen. But the Holy Doctor would not suffer 
that those who came from all parts to implore his 
intercession should offer their supplications at an 
empty tomb. He therefore appeared to the Abbot, 
reproved him severely for what he had done, and 
threatened him with chastisement if his remains were 
not restored to their first resting-place. The Abbot 
obeyed, and, taking a few of the monks into his con- 
fidence, proceeded with the utmost secrecy to a fresh 
translation of the body. But the moment the tomb 
was opened there issued forth a most sweet odour, 
which spread itself throughout the Convent and brought 
the entire community to the church to ascertain whence 
it came. The body was found to be in a state of per- 
fect preservation, both on this occasion and at another 
translation seven years later, when it was laid in a 
marble tomb by the side of the high altar. 

Fourteen years after the death of the Saint the 

Dominican Saints 19 

monks gave his right hand to his sister, the Countess Jan. 
of San Severino, and this precious relic became, later 
on, the property of the Dominican Convent at Salerno, 
where it is still preserved incorrupt. The monks then 
presented the head of Saint Thomas to the Count of 
Piperao, and in the year 1349, hearing that a cele- 
brated bandit had formed the sacrilegious project of 
stealing and selling the body of the Saint, they en- 
trusted the remainder of the sacred relics to the keep- 
ing of the Count of Fondi. After some time Saint 
Thomas appeared to this nobleman and threatened 
him with the vengeance of God if he did not give up 
his body to the Brethren of his own Order. This 
was accordingly done ; but the monks of Fossa Nuova 
were by no means prepared to relinquish their claim 
to the possession of the sacred relics. They carried 
their complaints before Pope Urban V., himself a 
member of the Benedictine Order. His Holiness 
testified extreme displeasure at what had been done, 
and commanded the Master-General of the Dominican 
Order to restore the body of Saint Thomas to the 
monks of Fossa Nuova. In vain did the Master- 
General represent the earnest desire of the Dominican 
Order to possess the relics of the greatest of its sons : 
Urban was inexorable. A few days later, on the 
Festival of Corpus Christi, the General ventured to 
renew his entreaties. Reminding his Holiness that 
the Church was indebted to Saint Thomas for the 
beautiful Office recited on that feast, he begged that 
his relics might rest amongst his own Brethren, who 
would show them more honour than any one else. 

The Pope hesitated for a few moments ; then in the 
most solemn manner he gave judgment in the follow- 
ing terms: "By the authority of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and 
ours, we give and grant the body of the Blessed 

20 Dominican Saints 

Jan. 28 Thomas of Aquin, professed religious of the Order of 
Preachers, to you, the Master-General, and to the 
said Order, to be kept either at Toulouse or at Paris, 
as shall seem good to the next General Chapter and 
to the Master-General of the Order; in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." 
And all the bystanders answered, "Amen." On the 
following day, however, the Pope decided the question 
in favour of Toulouse, where he had himself founded a 

In virtue of this permission, the holy body was 
brought from Fondi and the head from Piperno, and 
thence both were conveyed with the utmost caution to 
France. The journey from Gaeta to Prouille, where 
the holy body was first deposited, occupied two months, 
and many miracles took place on the way. " It was 
evident," says an old chronicler, " that Saint Thomas 
went where it pleased him." After remaining for a 
month at Prouille the precious remains were brought to 
the Convent of the Order of Saint Dominic at Toulouse 
on January 28, A.D. 1369, more than 50,000 persons 
coming out to meet them, bearing lighted tapers, whilst 
10,000 carried large torches round the bier. The 
canopy over the relics was borne by the Duke of 
Anjou, brother to the King of France, and by other 
persons of the highest rank. In that same year an 
arm of the Holy Doctor was detached from the body, 
and deposited with great solemnity in the Dominican 
Church of Saint James in Paris, where the Saint had 
taught with so much applause ; and, a few years later, 
another considerable relic was given to his beloved 
Convent of Saint Dominic at Naples. 

Thus the remains of the Angelic Doctor at length 
reposed in peace, according to his desire, in the midst 
of his Brethren, until the evil days of the French Re- 
volution, when the Dominicans were driven from their 

Dominican Saints 21 

Convent of Toulouse. The sacred remains were then Jan. 
transferred for greater safety to the crypt of the Church 
of Saint Sernin, where sacrilegious hands were soon 
laid on the costly reliquaries wherein they were con- 
tained. During the present century the relics of 
the Holy Doctor have undergone several translations 
into more suitable reliquaries and to more honourable 
places in the same Church. At the translation in the 
year 1852, the sermon was preached by Pere Henri- 
Dominique Lacordaire, the restorer of the Dominican 
Order in France ; and in the last, which took place in 
the year 1878, the Archbishop of Toulouse was assisted 
by the Vicar-General of the Order, the Most Rev. 
Father Sanvito. 

This day is regarded as the special festival of the 
Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare or Girdle of 
Saint Thomas Aquinas. 


O God, who makest Thy Church glorious through 
the wonderful learning of Blessed Thomas, Thy Con- 
fessor and Doctor, and renderest it fruitful by his 
holy actions, grant us, we beseech Thee, clearly to 
understand his teachings and faithfully to imitate his 
example. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Bernard scamntacca. Confessor 

(Died A.D. 1486) 

BERNARD SCAMMACCA was born of a noble family Feb. 9 
at Catania in Sicily. His youth was spent in sinful 
disorders, but a wound which he received in one of 
his legs proved the means of his conversion. During 

22 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 9 his long hours of suffering and sleeplessness he entered 
into himself, realised the perilous condition of his soul, 
and resolved to renounce his evil ways. On his re- 
covery, he asked and received the Dominican habit in 
the Convent of Catania, and henceforth devoted himself 
to a life of prayer and penance. He was distinguished 
for his obedience and humility, and for his gift of con- 
templation. When he retired into the garden to pray, 
as he was fond of doing, the little birds would come 
and perch on his head and outstretched arms, and 
there sing sweetly, filling him with the thought of the 
celestial harmonies ; nor would they depart until they 
had received his blessing. 

He was favoured with the gift of prophecy, and 
many prodigies showed how dear to God was this 
humble and penitent soul. Once he was found raised 
in the air in ecstasy before a crucifix. On another 
occasion the porter knocked loudly at the door of 
his cell to summon him to some ministry of charity. 
Receiving no answer, he was about to repeat the 
summons, when he saw a brilliant light issuing 
through a chink in the door, and, looking through 
the keyhole, he beheld the holy man in rapture, and 
by his side a child of heavenly beauty, bearing a lighted 
torch which filled the cell with a brilliant light. 

Blessed Bernard devoted himself with generous 
ardour to the relief of the bodily and spiritual needs 
of his neighbours. Whilst preaching to others he 
failed not to expiate the sins of his youth by the 
practice of severe austerities. He died A.D. 1486. 
Fifteen years later he appeared to the Prior of the 
Convent, and bade him remove his remains to a more 
honourable resting-place. This was accordingly done, 
and the body was found incorrupt. During the whole 
of the ceremony the church - bells, untouched by 
mortal hands, rang out with heavenly melody. Mira- 

Dominican Saints 23 

cles of all kinds were worked at Blessed Bernard's Feb. 9 
tomb. A nobleman who had been cured through his 
intercession resolved to remove the sacred remains 
to his castle, and came by night to the Convent with 
a troop of armed men to carry out his design. But 
the servant of God would not allow his body to be 
removed from the Convent where he had lived and 
died. Appearing in the dormitory, he knocked at 
every door, telling the Friars that violent hands were 
being laid on his body in the church ; and as they 
delayed obeying his summons, which they thought 
to be only a dream, he began to ring* the great bell. 
Then the Brethren hurried to the church, where they 
found the tomb empty, and the sacred body lying 
at the door, surrounded by armed men who were 
vainly endeavouring to raise it from the ground. It 
had miraculously become so heavy that the robbers 
were unable to move it. They took to flight at the 
approach of the Friars, who had not the slightest 
difficulty in restoring the precious remains to their 

Blessed Bernard, having always received great vene- 
ration in Sicily, was finally beatified by Leo XII., 
A.D. 1825. 


O God, who didst bring back Blessed Bernard from 
the vices of the world, and didst lead him into the 
way of perfection, grant, through his merits and inter- 
cession, that we likewise may bewail our sins and 
may be converted with pure minds to Thee. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

24 Dominican Saints 


Blessed Reginald of Orleans, Confessor 

(Died A.D. 1220) 

Feb. 12 REGINALD was born at Saint-Gilles in the south ot 
France and had taught Canon Law with applause in 
the University of Paris before being raised to the 
dignity of Dean of the Chapter of Orleans. Coming 
to Rome in company with his Bishop in the beginning 
of the year 1218, with the intention of visiting the 
tombs of the Apostles before going on pilgrimage to 
the holy places of Jerusalem, he there became ac- 
quainted with our Holy Father, Saint Dominic. To 
him he opened his whole heart, telling him that he 
greatly desired to quit all things in order to go about 
preaching Jesus Christ in a state of voluntary poverty. 
The holy patriarch joyfully promised to receive him 
into the Order. Shortly after, Reginald was taken 
dangerously ill, and the Blessed Dominic, as he him- 
self related to the Brethren, earnestly implored God 
that He would not take from him a son as yet 
hardly born, but that He would at least prolong his 
life, if it were but for a little while. And even whilst 
he yet prayed, the Blessed Virgin Mary, accompanied 
by the virgin martyrs, Saint Cecilia and Saint 
Catharine, appeared to Master Reginald, and, extend- 
ing her virginal hand, anointed his eyes, ears, nostrils, 
mouth, hands, and feet, pronouncing certain words 
appropriate to each anointing. Then she showed him 
the habit of the Friars Preachers, saying to him, 
" Behold the habit of thy Order," and so she dis- 
appeared from his eyes, and Reginald perceived that 
he was cured. He related all that had passed to his 

Dominican Saints 25 

Holy Father, praying him, however, to keep the cir- Feb. 12 
cumstances secret till after his death. Saint Dominic 
complied with his request ; and, in announcing to 
his Brethren that the linen surplice of the Canons 
Regular was to be exchanged for the woollen scapular, 
which was the particular part of the habit which the 
Blessed Virgin had been seen holding in her hands, 
he did not make known the reason of the change until 
after Reginald's death. This beautiful story is com- 
memorated in the ceremony of clothing, in the words 
which accompany the giving of the scapular, " Re- 
ceive the holy scapular of our Order, the most dis- 
tinguished part of the Dominican habit, the maternal 
pledge from heaven of the love of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary towards us." / 

The remaining events of Blessed Reginald's brief 
but brilliant career must be summed up in a few words. 
After his clothing, he departed for the Holy Land, and 
on his return, after founding a Convent in Sicily, he 
ruled the Order as Vicar whilst Saint Dominic visited 
Spain. At the same time he assumed the government 
of the Convent of Bologna, where, within six months, 
he received more than a hundred members into the 
Order, many of them men of great learning and dis- 
tinction ; so that it came to be a common saying that 
it was scarce safe to go and hear Master Reginald if 
you did not wish to take the Friars' habit. The great 
talents and success of Blessed Reginald induced Saint 
Dominic to remove him to Paris, to the great sorrow 
of his Brethren; for, notwithstanding the severity of 
his discipline, they were tenderly attached to their 
saintly Prior and wept as though being torn from their 
mother's arms. 

At Paris, his burning eloquence drew all to hear 
him and vocations to the Order were as striking as at 
Bologna. Being one day asked how he, who had 

26 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 12 been used to so luxurious a life in the world, had 
found it possible to persevere in the penitential life of 
the Order, Reginald humbly cast his eyes upon the 
ground and replied, " Truly I do not think to merit 
anything for that before the tribunal of God. He has 
given me so much consolation in my soul, that the 
rigours of which you speak have become very sweet 
and easy to me." 

One of the most remarkable subjects whom he drew 
to the Order was Blessed Jordan of Saxony, to whom 
God was pleased to reveal the approaching death of 
Reginald in a vision, wherein he beheld a clear and 
sparkling fountain suddenly spring up in the Dominican 
Church of Saint James, and as suddenly fail. 

The death of the holy man took place in February, 
A.D. 1 220, when he had worn the habit scarcely two 
years. When Abbot Matthew, 1 who then governed 
the Community at Paris, came to announce to him that 
his illness was mortal and proposed to administer to 
him the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the dying 
man made answer, " I do not fear the assault of death, 
since the blessed hands of Mary anointed me in Rome. 
Nevertheless, because I would not make light of the 
Church's Sacrament, I will receive it, and humbly ask 
that it may be given to me." 

Blessed Reginald has ever been held in veneration 
in the Order, though he was not solemnly beatified 
until the pontificate of Pius IX. 


Almighty and everlasting God, who didst gift 
Thy Blessed Confessor Reginald with the singular 
protection of Thy most holy Mother, grant us, by his 

1 Matthew was the only one who ever bore the title of Abbot in the 
Order ; the Superiors of houses have always been called Priors. 

Dominican Saints 27 

merits and prayers, to be strengthened by the perpetual Feb. 12 
succour of the same ever-glorious Virgin. Who livest 
and reignest, world without end. Amen. 


Saint Catharine de Ricci, Virgin 

(A.D. 1522-1590) 

SAINT CATHARINE DE Ricci was born at Florence, Feb. 13 
A.D. 1522, and from her earliest years gave manifest 
proofs of her future sanctity. When only three years 
old she prayed with the utmost recollection, and sought 
out silent and solitary places wherein to devote her- 
self to this favourite exercise. She was daily visited 
by her guardian angel, who instructed her in sacred 
mysteries, trained her to meditate upon them, and 
taught her the devotion of the Holy Rosary, that she 
might early begin to love and honour the Mother of 
Him whose spouse she was destined to become. 

At the age of thirteen she received the habit of the 
Third Order of Saint Dominic in the Convent of Saint 
Vincent at Prato, which had been founded about thirty 
years previously by some disciples of the celebrated 
Savonarola. During her noviceship and the early 
years of her religious life, her continual interior con- 
versation with the Divine Lover of her soul kept her 
in a state of almost constant abstraction ; and as the 
holy maiden, in her simplicity, had never revealed, even 
to her Confessor, the supernatural favours which had 
been lavished on her from infancy, the Community 
thought her stupid and incapable and were very near 
dismissing her from the Convent. Shortly after her 
profession, she had several long illnesses, during which 
she suffered excruciating pains, and of which she was 

28 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 13 miraculously cured by repeated apparitions of Father 
Jerome Savonarola and his companions, or of some 
Saint of the Order. 

In the year 1 542 began those memorable ecstasies 
which were renewed every week for the space of 
twelve years, beginning at noon on Thursday and 
ending on Friday afternoon. During these ecstasies 
the closing scenes of our Lord's life were reproduced 
before her, and the movements of her body and the 
words which fell from her lips denoted the various 
stages of the Sacred Passion in which she was per- 
mitted thus mysteriously to take part. 

On Easter Sunday of the same year, our Lord was 
pleased to celebrate Catharine's espousals with Him- 
self, placing a ring on her finger with the words, 
" Receive, daughter, this ring as a pledge and token 
that thou art and ever shalt be Mine." On the follow- 
ing Friday the sacred stigmata were impressed on 
her hands, feet, and side, and from that time till her 
death they caused her great and continual pain. 
Later on, the crown of thorns was placed on her 
brow by her Divine Spouse, and those who nursed her 
in her illnesses were witnesses of another feature of 
resemblance to Him whom her soul loved. From her 
right shoulder down to her waist there was a wide, 
deep, livid furrow, impressed upon her by the Cross, 
which she bore in a mysterious manner every week 
with her Divine Master from the Praetorium of Pilate 
to the summit of Calvary. 

Catharine had in her cell a large wooden crucifix to 
which she bore a tender devotion. Our Lord often 
spoke to her from this crucifix ; and, on one occasion 
when she was praying before it, the figure detached 
itself from the cross and came to her. " Beloved 
Spouse," said Our Lord, " I come to seek in thy heart 
and in those of My daughters a refuge against the 

Dominican Saints 29 

crimes of sinners which overwhelm Me." Of this Feb. 13 
miraculous event the whole Community were witnesses. 

In the year 1552 the Saint was elected Prioress, 
and from that time until her death, a period of nearly 
forty years, she always held either that or the office of 
Subprioress. She set no bounds to her maternal 
solicitude for the well-being of those under her care. 
When obliged to reprove her subjects for their faults, 
she made a point of always, before bedtime, speaking 
a kind word or giving some mark of tenderness to 
those whom she had had occasion to correct during 
the day. She perfectly realized in her life that union 
of action and contemplation which is the spirit of the 
Dominican Order. Whilst attending with the utmost 
care and prudence to every detail of the temporal and 
spiritual needs of a Community of nearly a hundred and 
sixty nuns, and busying herself also for the salvation 
and perfection of many souls outside the walls of her 
Convent, she was all the while closely united to God 
and raised to the highest states of prayer. Young 
maidens, pious matrons, professional men, wealthy 
Florentine nobles, even Bishops, gloried in calling her 
by the name of mother ; and she took a truly maternal 
interest in them all, as her letters amply testify. The 
poor were the objects of her special tenderness, and 
she desired that they should always be kindly received 
at the Convent, no matter how importunate they might 
be. " Manage/' she would say to the portress, " that 
no person shall ever leave the door without being com- 
forted and relieved in some way or other." 

Saint Catharine was on terms of sweet and holy 
friendship with Saint Philip Neri. They earnestly 
wished to meet ; and God, who delights in fulfilling 
the desires of His servants, brought them face to face 
in a miraculous manner, as both Saints afterwards 

30 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 13 The poor souls in Purgatory often appeared to her 
soliciting her prayers, and she would take their 
sufferings upon herself to obtain their release. Often, 
too, she suffered as a victim of expiation for the sins 
of the world. Her prayer appeared to be continual. 
In going from one exercise to another, her lips were 
always in motion, reciting psalms, hymns, or rosaries ; 
and everything she saw seemed to raise her mind to 

Towards the close of January, A.D. 1590, the Saint 
was attacked by her last illness, which was of only 
a few days' duration ; and, after receiving the Holy 
Sacraments with the utmost devotion, she happily de- 
parted to our Lord on the Feast of the Purification, 
whilst the angels were heard over the Convent singing 
harmoniously the words, " Come, O Spouse of Christ, 
receive the crown which the Lord hath prepared for 
thee from all eternity." 

Many miracles were worked through her interces- 
sion. She was beatified by Clement XII, A.D. 1732, 
and canonized by Benedict XIV., A.D. 1746. 


O Lord Jesus Christ, who wast pleased that Thy 
holy Virgin, the Blessed Catharine, should be inflamed 
with Thy love and made illustrious through the con- 
templation of Thy Passion, grant to her intercession 
that we likewise, devoutly worshipping the mysteries 
of Thy Passion, may deserve to receive its fruit. Who 
livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 31 


Blessed Ricbolas Palea of 
Giouinazzo, Confessor 

(A.D. 1197-1255) 

THIS great servant of God was born of noble parents Feb. 14 
in the year 1197, at Giovinazzo, near Bari, in the 
kingdom of Naples, and from his earliest childhood 
gave token of his future holiness. 

Being sent to study at the University of Bologna, 
he there received the habit of the Order of Preachers 
from the hands of Saint Dominic himself. The 
Holy Patriarch conceived a singular affection for his 
young disciple, and often made him his companion in 
his apostolic journeyings. Whilst yet a novice, he 
was inspired to stop a poor woman in the street, in 
spite of the remonstrances of his companions, and, 
invoking the Holy Trinity, he cured her of a withered 
arm. This may be called a " beginning of miracles," 
for his subsequent labours and preachings were accom- 
panied by continual signs and wonders. 

Soon after his entrance into the Order he was sent 
to preach in his own country, where he founded the 
Convent of Trani on a site miraculously indicated by 
the appearance of a fiery cross. He became Provincial 
of the Roman Province ; and, on occasion of his ele- 
vation to that dignity, he assembled the Brethren in 
Chapter and earnestly exhorted them to live together 
in the bonds of peace and fraternal charity. In order 
to give additional weight to his words, he related to 
them the following incident : " A certain Brother," 
said he, " had given me trouble, and was undoubtedly 
in the wrong. He died a few days afterwards without 

32 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 14 having made any apology. Now, one night when I 
chanced to be sick and was resting a little, he appeared 
to me in a dream and begged my pardon. Knowing 
that he was dead, I said to him, ' Go, Brother, and ask 
pardon of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose hands thou 
art.' He withdrew, and as he was asking pardon of 
Our Lord, according to my bidding, the Divine Master 
said to him, ' I will not forgive thee till thou hast 
obtained the pardon of the Religious whom thou didst 
offend.' He returned the same night, and informing 
me of what Jesus Christ had said, he once more asked 
my pardon, which was readily granted him. Then he 
said to me, ' See, Brother Nicholas, what an evil thing 
it is to offend one of our Brethren, and what serious 
results ensue from not apologizing.' " 

Blessed Nicholas discharged his duties as Provincial 
with the utmost prudence, wisdom, and sweetness. 
He drew many to the Order who were renowned for 
their learning and piety, and who established nume- 
rous Convents. He himself was the founder of 
the celebrated Convent of Perugia, remarkable for 
being afterwards the scene of the canonization both 
of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Saint Peter 

In his capacity of Provincial of the Roman Pro- 
vince, he assisted at the General Chapter of Bologna, 
A.D. 1233, at which took place the solemn translation 
of the relics of our Holy Father, Saint Dominic. The 
night before the ceremony, as Blessed Nicholas was 
reflecting on what was about to be done, not without 
a certain anxiety as to the results, a venerable old man 
appeared to him in a vision, saying to him those words 
of the Psalmist, "This man shall receive a blessing 
from the Lord and mercy from God his Saviour." The 
prediction was fully verified when, on the following 
day, Blessed Nicholas witnessed the prodigies whereby 

Dominican Saints 33 

God was pleased to honour the remains of His faith- Feb. 14 
ful servant. 

He was himself a most eloquent preacher and 
untiring in his apostolic labours. On one occasion, 
when he was preaching in the Cathedral of Brescia 
before a great concourse of people, two dissolute 
young men disturbed the audience by their profane 
and wicked conduct. The holy man, finding them 
deaf to his remonstrances, left the church, and, 
ascending a neighbouring hill, called aloud, " Since 
men are so hardened as to reject the word of God, 
come, ye birds of heaven, in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ; come and listen to it." Instantly 
countless flocks of birds, large and small, gathered 
round him, arranged themselves in rows on the grass, 
and listened with every sign of attention, whilst the 
preacher addressed them for a good space. Then he 
gave them his blessing, as though to dismiss them, 
and they dispersed in all directions. 

A worthy son of Saint Dominic, Blessed Nicholas 
had always cherished a tender devotion to the Holy 
Mother of God. A few days before his death Brother 
Rao, a fervent disciple of the Holy Patriarch, who 
had been dead many years, appeared to him, saying, 
" Dearest Brother, our Lady sends you word to pre- 
pare yourself, for the crown of glory is now ready for 
you." Blessed Nicholas died the death of the Saints 
in the autumn of A.D. 1255. It pleased God to manifest 
the sanctity of His faithful servant by many miracles. 
He received religious veneration from the time of his 
death, and was beatified by Leo XII., A.D. 1828. 


Mercifully infuse into us, O God, the spirit or 
Blessed Nicholas, Thy Confessor, that, as Thou didst 
adorn him with singular grace for the preaching of Thy 


34 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 14 word and procuring the salvation of his neighbour, so 
Thou wouldst grant us, through his prayers, ever to 
remain constant in the same holy vocation. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Jordan of Saxotip, Confessor 

(A.D. 1190-1236) 

Feb. 15 BLESSED JORDAN belonged to the noble German 
family of the Counts of Eberstein, and was born in 
the Castle of Borrenstrick, in the diocese of Pader- 
born. He began his studies in his native land, and 
was sent to complete them at the University of Paris, 
where he made extraordinary progress in learning, 
whilst at the same time he led a life of singular 
innocence and piety. Though not rich, he had bound 
himself by vow daily to bestow an alms on the first 
poor person he should meet. Now it chanced that on 
one occasion, as he was hurrying to assist at Matins 
at Notre Dame and believed himself to be late, he was 
accosted by a beggar. Not having his purse about 
him, he bestowed on the poor man the richly orna- 
mented belt which he wore according to the custom of 
the times. On entering the church, he beheld to his 
astonishment on the great crucifix the very belt of 
which he had just deprived himself for the love of 

When our Holy Father Saint Dominic visited Paris 
in the year 1219, Jordan opened his whole soul to 
him and by his advice received Deacon's orders. It 
was, however, the preaching of Blessed Reginald of 
Orleans which decided his vocation to the Order. In 
company with his beloved friend, Henry of Cologne, 

Dominican Saints 35 

he received the habit in the Convent of Saint James Feb. 15 
on Ash Wednesday, A.D. 1220. A few weeks later 
he assisted at the first General Chapter of the Order 
at Bologna, where he again had the happiness of 
beholding the Holy Patriarch whom he loved so 
tenderly. On his return to Paris he taught in the 
schools and preached with great success, winning to 
the Order many illustrious members of the University. 
In the year 1221 he was appointed Provincial of 
Lombardy. He arrived in Italy to find that Saint 
Dominic was dead; and the General Chapter of the 
following year elected him as the Saint's successor in 
the office of Master-General of the Order. During 
the fourteen years of his government he founded 
many convents and clothed so vast a number of 
novices that it became the custom to provide cloth 
and habits beforehand when he was expected at any 
monastery, as crowds of postulants were certain to 
present themselves. 

Many beautiful stories are related in his life of 
these wonderful vocations, and of the sweetness and 
charity displayed by Blessed Jordan to his spiritual 
children. The holy man was of a singularly joyous 
and cheerful disposition and the most troublesome 
temptations were dispelled by his mere presence. He 
had also a wonderful power over the evil spirits, who, 
being greatly enraged at the fruits which followed on 
his preaching, tried every art to destroy him. On 
one occasion a possessed person entered his cell and 
cut his throat so terribly that there seemed to be no 
hope of his recovery. But Jordan, after submitting 
to all that the doctors thought fit to prescribe, rose 
from his bed as soon as they were gone, and desiring 
the Brethren to prepare everything for Mass, cele- 
brated the Holy Sacrifice ; and, washing the wound 
with some wine which had been poured into the 

36 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 15 chalice, it at once closed and healed, and he went the 
same day to preach before the Pope. 

This diabolical persecution extended to the entire 
Order; everywhere the Brethren were subjected day 
and night to the most harassing attacks and terrifying 
apparitions. Blessed Jordan, in the general distress, 
had recourse to her who is terrible to the demons as 
an army in battle array. He ordained that the Salve 
Regina, which had hitherto been only recited daily 
after Compline, should henceforth be sung proces- 
sionally ; and the effect of this ordinance was the im- 
mediate disappearance of these troublesome visitants. 

Year by year, save when prevented by ill-health, 
Blessed Jordan presided over the General Chapter, 
at that time held at Paris and Bologna alternately. 
In these Chapters he framed many wise regulations 
for the government of the Order, arranged for its 
establishment in every part of Europe, and sent mis- 
sionaries even to the confines of China. The intervals 
between the Chapters were spent in apostolic journey- 
ings over France, Germany, and Italy. He chose by 
preference for the scene of his labours one or other of 
the seats of the great universities, Paris, Bologna, 
Padua, or Vercelli. In 1230 he preached the Lent at 
Oxford, where he gained a rich harvest of vocations 
and presided over the first Provincial Chapter held in 
England. He kept up a constant affectionate corre- 
spondence with his spiritual daughter, Blessed Diana 
d'Andalo, whom he had himself installed in her Con- 
vent of St. Agnes at Bologna ; and he continually com- 
mended to her prayers and those of her Community 
the success of his work for the salvation of souls. 

At the General Chapter held at Bologna, A.D. 1233, 
Blessed Jordan had the consolation of assisting at the 
translation of the relics of Saint Dominic, a ceremony 
which was accompanied by many miracles and pro- 

Dominican Saints 37 

digies. With his own hands he laid the sacred re- Feb. 15 
mains in a new coffin and presented the holy skull 
to be kissed by more than three hundred of the 

Blessed Jordan was on terms of intimacy with the 
great Ghibelline Emperor, Frederic II., to whom he 
spoke with the utmost frankness and courage, re- 
proving him for his impiety and vice, and fearlessly 
braving his anger in the cause of God. 

This indefatigable labourer in the vineyard of the 
Lord suffered from continual ill-health, and towards 
the end of his life became almost blind in consequence 
of his wonderful gift of tears. He worked many 
miracles, and was favoured with numerous heavenly 
visions and revelations. He wrote a Life of Saint 
Dominic and composed a Little Office of five Psalms 
in honour of the holy name of Mary, to whom he bore 
the tenderest devotion. Willingly would we linger 
over this fascinating period of the history of the Order, 
and relate some of the many beautiful and edifying 
stories which reveal to us the sanctity of this most 
lovable servant of God, and which are to be found 
in the "Lives of the Brethren." 1 But it is time to 
close this brief notice by relating the circumstances of 
his untimely death, which occurred in the year 1236. 
As he was returning from the visitation of the con- 
vents in the Holy Land he was shipwrecked and 
drowned off Acre. His body and those of his com- 
panions were washed on shore by the waves ; a bright 
light shone over them and a heavenly fragrance dif- 
fused itself around. Many miracles were worked at 
his tomb and through his intercession, and his glory 
in heaven was revealed to many. He was beatified 
by Leo XII. 

1 Recently translated into English by Rev. Father Placid Conway, 
O.P. ' 

38 Dominican Saints 


Feb. 15 O God, who madest Blessed Jordan wonderful for 
zeal in the saving of souls and for grace in the ex- 
tending of religion, grant that, by his merits and 
intercession, we may ever live in the same spirit and 
find glory laid up for us in heaven. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed au>rence of Ripafratta, Confessor 

(A.D. 1359-1457) 

Feb. 18 BLESSED LAWRENCE was born of noble parents in 
the Castle of Ripafratta, which in the Middle Ages 
protected the Pisan frontier from the incursions of 
the Florentines and of the inhabitants of Lucca. He 
took the habit in the Convent of Saint Catharine at 
Pisa at the age of twenty. At that period a terrible 
pestilence was ravaging Italy, which depopulated many 
of the Convents of the Order ; the great Schism of 
the West also contributed not a little to the relaxation 
of discipline. Blessed Raymund of Capua, the con- 
fessor and disciple of Saint Catharine of Siena, who 
became Master-General of the Order, A.D. 1380, 
laboured strenuously for its reform, in which work 
he was powerfully seconded by Blessed Clara Gam- 
bacorti of Pisa and by Blessed John Dominici of 
Florence. The latter soon enlisted Blessed Lawrence 
in the cause of reform and was not slow to discover 
the merits of his new disciple. In him he found 
united angelic purity, great austerity of life, ardent 
zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, 
and inviolable fidelity to the most minute observances 

Dominican Saints 39 

enjoined by the Rule and Constitutions, together with Feb. 18 
such a profound knowledge of Holy Scripture that, 
like Saint Anthony of Padua, he was surnamed " the 
Ark of the Testament." He therefore appointed him 
Novice-master in the Convent of Cortona, about A.D. 
1402. Among his novices Blessed Lawrence numbered 
Saint Antoninus, Blessed Peter Capucci, and the two 
artist brothers, Fra Giovanni Angelico and Fra Bene- 
detto Mugello. Blessed Lawrence guided the young 
souls entrusted to his care with marvellous skill in the 
path of religious perfection. Equally on his guard 
against excessive rigour and enervating gentleness, he 
strove to enkindle the fire of Divine love in the hearts 
of his novices and then left it to God to do the rest. 
He had a wonderful capacity for discovering the 
special aptitude of each of his disciples ; thus he 
advised Saint Antoninus to devote himself to study 
and Blessed Peter of Tiferno to contemplation ; whilst 
he counselled Fra Angelico and Fra Benedetto to 
cultivate their talent for painting. " You will be none 
the less true Friars Preachers," he said to them ; " for 
it is not only by preaching that we persuade men to 
practise virtue and avoid vice, but also by the arts, 
and specially by music and painting. It will certainly 
come to pass that a great number of sinners, who 
have turned a deaf ear to the preaching of your 
Brethren, will be won to God by your pictures. You 
have one advantage of which others are deprived ; the 
most eloquent tongue becomes silent in the tomb, 
whereas your heavenly compositions will continue 
through the ages efficaciously to preach religion and 

Blessed Lawrence did not confine his sphere of 
action to the walls of his Convent ; he frequently 
preached the Word of God in the surrounding districts 
and drew many souls from the paths of perdition. 

4 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 18 Saint Antoninus in his writings does not hesitate to 
compare this holy man to Saint Paul, by reason of his 
zeal, the tribulations he had to undergo, and the 
sufferings which he inflicted on his own body. 

After some years, Blessed Lawrence became Vicar- 
General of the congregation composed of the Convents 
which had embraced the reform, and took up his resi- 
dence at Pistoia, where he laboured indefatigably 
among the plague-stricken in a season of great public 
calamity. Fabriano and other Italian cities were also 
at various times the scenes of his apostolic labours. 
Meanwhile the young religious whom he had trained 
had grown up to be pillars of the Order and of the 
Church, and models to those who came after them, 
whilst the reform in which he had taken so prominent 
a part was spreading from one end of Italy to the 
other and producing members renowned alike for 
their learning and sanctity. In the year 1446, he 
received the news that his beloved disciple, Saint 
Antoninus, had been named Archbishop of Florence. 
But neither the entreaties of the magistrates of the 
Republic nor the wishes of the Sovereign Pontiff him- 
self could vanquish the humility of the Saint and 
induce him to accept the burden of the Episcopate, 
till Blessed Lawrence expressly commanded him to 
do so. His former Novice-master continued to be 
his guide and counsellor, as Saint Bernard had been 
to Pope Eugenius. The two faithful servants of God 
kept up a constant correspondence, portions of which 
have been preserved and bear witness to the sanctity 
of both. 

Meanwhile Blessed Lawrence had attained almost 
to his hundredth year. Worn out by the fatigues 
of a laborious and penitential life and suffering much 
from a terrible ulcer in his leg, he received the last 
Sacraments with every mark of the most tender 

Dominican Saints 41 

devotion. Then, raising himself up in his bed, the Feb. 18 
holy old man exhorted the weeping Brethren around 
him to the love of God and their neighbour and to 
unsparing exertions for the salvation of souls. He 
slept in the Lord at Pistoia on September 28, A.D. 
1457. God speedily manifested the glory of His 
faithful servant, and his tomb was the scene of many 
miracles. Saint Antoninus, writing to console the 
community of Pistoia for their loss, bears a touching 
testimony to the memory of his beloved master : " To 
whom will you now have recourse for counsel in your 
doubts," he writes; "who is to help you in your 
needs and to be your light in the hour of tempta- 
tion ? . . . How many souls have not his words and 
example snatched from vice and hell to lead them to 
the summit of perfection ! How many enemies has 
he not reconciled ! How many discords has he not 
appeased ! How many scandals has he not abolished ! 
... I weep too over my own lot ; for I shall never 
more receive any of those tender letters which he used 
to write to me, to stir up my zeal in the discharge of 
my pastoral office." 

Blessed Lawrence was solemnly beatified by Pius 
IX., A.D. 1851. 


O God, who didst make blessed Lawrence, Thy 
Confessor, to shine forth by zeal for regular discipline 
and by the ardour of Divine love, grant, through his 
intercession, that, ever following the more perfect 
ways, we may attain to everlasting joy. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

42 Dominican Saints 


Blessed flluarez or Cordoua, CotiTessor 

(Died A.D. 1420) 

Feb. 19 BLESSED ALVAREZ was of noble parentage and took 
the habit in the Convent of Saint Paul at Cordova in 
Spain, A.D. 1368. He lived at the same time as 
Saint Vincent Ferrer, and his apostolic labours, zeal, 
and charity were singularly like those of his illustrious 
contemporary. After having, during several years, 
evangelized various provinces of Spain, Blessed Alvarez 
extended his labours to Italy and afterwards to Palestine. 
On his return to his native land he became confessor 
to the young King of Castile, Don John II. and to the 
Queen Regent, whom he greatly assisted in the govern- 
ment of the country by his wise counsels. But, 
earnestly desiring a more secluded life, he at length 
obtained permission to retire from the court, and 
founded in the neighbourhood of Cordova a Convent of 
strict observance, to which he gave the name of Scala- 
Cceli ( The Ladder of Heaven]. He received miraculous 
assistance during the erection of this Convent. Several 
times, when he was in want of building materials, 
invisible hands brought stones and other things during 
the night and were heard hewing and preparing them. 
In memory of the Holy Places at Jerusalem, he caused 
several-oratories to be erected in the Convent grounds, 
in which were depicted the different mysteries of the 
Passion. The most remote of these, dedicated to our 
Lady of Compassion, was the scene of his nightly 
prayers and penances. He would drag himself thither 
on his knees, taking the discipline as he went, and 
those who watched him secretly often saw angels going 

Dominican Saints 43 

before him, clearing away the thorns and sharp stones Feb. 19 
from the rugged path. Like his Holy Patriarch, Saint 
Dominic, Blessed Alvarez was wont to spend great 
part of the night in prayer before the Blessed Sac- 
rament and to take his scanty repose on the altar 

The favour which he enjoyed at court would have 
easily enabled him to obtain ample revenues for his 
new foundations, but he was an ardent lover of the 
poverty enjoined by the Rule, and the Community were 
often destitute of the bare necessaries of life. On 
these occasions their wants were sometimes supplied 
in what appeared to be a miraculous manner. Once, 
when there was nothing to set before the Brethren for 
dinner but a single lettuce, left from the supper of the 
previous night, the holy man nevertheless commanded 
that they should assemble in the refectory as usual. 
The blessing was given, and then he earnestly besought 
God to have pity on His servants. As he prayed, the 
Convent bell rang and the porter found at the door a 
stranger leading a mule heavily laden with bread, wine, 
fish, and other provisions for the Community, who were 
never able to discover who their unknown benefactor 
had been. One day, as Blessed Alvarez was returning 
from preaching, he found a poor man lying in the 
street, covered with ulcers and apparently at the point 
of death. Wrapping the poor sufferer in his mantle, 
he bore him in his arms to the Convent and laid down 
his burden in the cloister ; but, when the mantle was 
unfolded in presence of the Friars, instead of the 
loathsome object which they expected to behold, a large 
crucifix was disclosed to their astonished gaze. This 
crucifix was placed in the church and is held in great 
veneration even to this day. Another memorial of the 
holy man is a little bell, still called "the bell of Blessed 
Alvarez," which rings of itself whenever any one of the 

44 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 19 community or any notable member of the Order is 
about to die. 

One of the greatest services which Blessed Alvarez 
and the fervent Community of Scala-Cceli rendered to 
the Church was the extirpation of the last remains of 
the great Schism of the West. Though the most 
powerful persons in the kingdom were strongly attached 
to the party of the anti-pope, Peter de Luna, the Friars 
succeeded in bringing the whole of Castile to the 
obedience of the lawfully elected Pontiff, Martin V. 

Blessed Alvarez died on the iQth of February, A.D. 
1420. A heavenly perfume often exhales from his 
sepulchre and many miracles have been worked 
through his intercession. Some years after his death, 
the Bishop of Cordova gave the Friars a church within 
the city and the Convent of Scala-Cceli was abandoned. 
They were anxious to remove the body of Blessed 
Alvarez to their new dwelling; but, each time they 
attempted to do so, they were prevented by a sudden 
and terrific thunderstorm. More than a century later, 
the celebrated Father Lewis of Granada repaired the 
church and convent and again established a community 
there. Blessed Alvarez was beatified by Benedict XIV., 
A.D. 1741. 


O God, who didst richly endow the Blessed Alvarez, 
Thy Confessor, with the gifts of charity and penance, 
grant that we, by his intercession and example, may 
ever bear the mortification of Christ in our bodies and 
Thy love in our hearts. Through Christ our Lord. 

Dominican Saints 45 


Blessed flimo Caparelli, Confessor 

(A.D. 1395-1495) 

AIMO TAPARELLI was a member of the illustrious Feb. 21 
family of the Counts of Lagnasco, and was born at 
Savigliano in Piedmont, A.D. 1395. As a youth he 
was remarkable both for his great personal beauty 
and his singular talents; but, in spite of every 
advantage which the world could offer, he very early 
resolved to embrace the religious life and entered the 
Dominican Convent of his native place. He was no 
less distinguished for his sweetness of disposition, 
humility, and mortification than for his earnest 
application to study. Whilst still young, he was 
called upon to teach publicly in the University of 
Turin, where he gained universal applause. He 
found leisure also for preaching, and had the con- 
solation of bringing a vast number of sinners to 
repentance and of reconciling many heretics to the 
Church. His fame reached the ears of Blessed 
Amadeo, Duke of Savoy, who made choice of him to 
preach at his court and is said to have sometimes 
consulted him on the affairs of his conscience. 

After the martyrdom of Blessed Bartholomew of 
Cerverio, Blessed Aimo was appointed his successor 
as Commissary of the Inquisition and shortly after- 
wards Inquisitor-General in Upper Lombardy and 
Liguria, a difficult and laborious office, which he 
continued to discharge until his death. He also filled 
important posts as Prior of Savigliano and Vicar 
Provincial, in which capacity he did much for the 
promotion of regular discipline. 

46 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 21 In the midst of his manifold labours he preserved 
great recollection and peace of soul. These words 
were ever on his lips, "To serve God is to reign." 
He inscribed them on the walls of his cell and in 
another form on the front of the Church : " Our 
salvation consists solely in serving God. All else is 
deceit." Sola salus servire Deo ; sunt ccetera fraudes. 
His whole life was a practical illustration of this maxim. 
He was much given to prayer and offered the Holy 
Sacrifice with extraordinary devotion. He was wont 
often to retire to a solitary mountain in the neigh- 
bourhood of Saluzzo, there to devote himself to 
contemplation and to keep up the fire of Divine love 
in his soul. He bore a special devotion to the Holy 
Angels, conversing familiarly with them and being 
often favoured by their visits. On the Festival of 
Saint Hippolytus and his Companions, Martyrs, as 
he recited in the Office the words, "The Saints shall 
rejoice in glory/' the Angels responded, "They 
shall be joyful in their beds." This he took to be 
a sign of his approaching death, which happened two 
days later on the Feast of the Assumption of our 
Blessed Lady, towards whom he had ever borne a 
tender devotion. On the day of his death he recited 
his office and received the Last Sacraments. In his 
agony, the holy old man, who was in his hundredth 
year, clasped his crucifix closely to his breast and 
continued to hold it tightly long after his spirit had 
departed. This happened in the year 1495. At the 
beginning of the present century the remains of 
Blessed Aimo were translated to the Church of Saint 
Dominic at Turin. He was beatified by Pius IX. 


O Almighty God, to serve whom is to reign, grant, 
through the merits and intercession of Blessed Aimo, 

Dominican Saints 47 

Thy Confessor, whom Thou didst render a signal Feb. 21 
champion of the faith, that, faithfully keeping Thy 
commandments upon earth, we may deserve to enjoy 
Thy eternal kingdom with him in heaven. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Constantius of Fabriano, Confessor 

(A.D. 1410-1481) 

BLESSED CONSTANTIUS was born at Fabriano in Feb. 25 
Italy, A.D. 1410, and his family name was Servoli. 
He was remarkable as a child for his tender piety, 
so that the neighbours used to call him " the friend of 
God." He had a sister nine years old, who for seven 
years had been suffering from an incurable malady. 
One day, after fervent prayer, little Constantius led 
his father and mother to the invalid's bedside and 
made them kneel down with him. Then he prayed 
aloud for his sister's recovery, and immediately she 
was restored to perfect health. As though to prog- 
nosticate his future vocation to the Order of Preachers, 
the child continually addressed fervent and forcible ex- 
hortations to all who would listen to him and succeeded 
in bringing some hardened sinners to repentance. 

At the age of fifteen he entered the Dominican 
noviciate at the Convent of Saint Lucy at Fabriano, 
which had enjoyed the privilege of having successively 
as priors the Blessed John Dominici, the Blessed 
Laurence of Ripafratta, and Saint Antoninus, and 
which he was destined himself one day to govern. 
Here he made admirable progress in learning and 
sanctity, and he afterwards taught with great profit 
to his hearers in many of the cities of Italy. 

4 8 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 25 Blessed Constantius led a life of extreme austerity 
and devoted much time to prayer, spending great part 
of the night before the Blessed Sacrament and watering 
the pavement of the Church with his tears. He was 
accustomed daily to recite the Office of the Dead and 
very frequently the entire Psalter; and, in order to 
encourage his Brethren to practise the latter devotion, 
he used to tell them that he had never failed to obtain 
from God whatever he had asked of Him by its means. 
When the Turks attacked Constantinople, A.D. 1453, 
the Friars begged Blessed Constantius to say the 
Psalter in order to obtain their defeat ; but, though he 
began it several times, he was always prevented from 
finishing it ; whence he concluded that it was the will 
of God that, in punishment for the sins of Christendom, 
the Mahometans should be victorious. 

Blessed Constantius held the office of Prior suc- 
cessively in the Convents of Perugia and of Ascoli. 
It was during his period of government of the last- 
named Convent, that, on the morning of the Feast of 
the Ascension, A.D. 1459, he beheld in vision the soul 
of Saint Antoninus being borne, marvellously beautiful, 
to heaven. In the Bull of Canonization of the great 
Archbishop of Florence, Pope Clement VII. mentions 
this vision and speaks of Blessed Constantius, with 
whom he had been personally acquainted whilst 
Governor of Fabriano, as " a man no less illustrious 
for his sanctity of life than for his learning." 

This holy man possessed the gift of prophecy and 
his miracles were very numerous. On one occasion 
he raised to life a young man who had been dead two 
days. The relatives of the deceased and the other 
bystanders reviled him, accusing him of tempting God 
when they heard him address the corpse with the 
words, " In the name of Jesus Christ, arise ; " but when 
they saw the dead man rise, they threw themselves in 

Dominican Saints 49 

terror at Blessed Constantius's feet. He gently raised Feb. 25 
them from the ground, saying, "Never despise the 
servants of God and remember Our Lord's promise : 
t He that believeth in Me, the works that I do he also 
shall do, and greater than these shall he do.' " 

The countenance of Blessed Constantius habitually 
wore that look of gentle sadness which is said to have 
been the characteristic of all the disciples of Saint 
Catharine of Siena and of those whom they trained to 
the religious life, and which is sufficiently accounted 
for by the wickedness of the times in which their lot 
was cast. In the case of Blessed Constantius, how- 
ever, it seems also to have had its source in an interior 
trial permitted by God for his sanctification ; for, being 
once asked why he never looked perfectly happy, he 
replied, " Alas ! I know not whether my actions are 
pleasing to God or not." 

The Convent of Ascoli was the last to enjoy the 
blessing of being governed by this faithful servant ot 
God, and there he died on the 24th of February, A.D. 
1481. Scarcely had he expired when a crowd of 
little children ran through the streets exclaiming, 
"The holy Prior is dead ! " He was beatified by Pius 
VII., A.D. 1811. 


O God, who didst make the Blessed Constantius, 
Thy Confessor, glorious amongst the people for his 
continual exercise of prayer and his zeal in the pro- 
motion of peace, grant, by his intercession, that, 
walking always in the paths of justice, we may attain 
to everlasting peace and glory. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

50 Dominican Saints 


Blessed Villana dc Botti 

(Died A.D. 1360) 

Feb. 28 VlLLANA was a member of the noble family De Botti 
and was born at Florence. Her childhood was spent 
in acts of astonishing devotion and in the exercise of 
austerities such as are rarely practised even by persons 
advanced in age and virtue. She ardently desired to 
embrace the religious life ; but, over-persuaded by her 
parents, she at length consented to marry and her 
nuptials were celebrated with the utmost magnificence. 
Possibly her early piety may have had in it some tinge 
of pride, which necessarily led to a fall. Be this as it 
may, immediately on her marriage she abandoned all 
her exercises of prayer and penance and gave herself 
up to a life of heartless and sinful dissipation. How 
long this lasted we are not told; but God, who had 
chosen her for Himself, at length recalled her to better 
things in a wonderful manner. 

One night Villana was preparing for an entertain- 
ment of unwonted splendour. She was dressed with 
all the sumptuous extravagance of the times ; jewels 
sparkled in her hair, on her arms, on her very shoes. 
Before leaving her room, she went to cast one parting 
glance at the mirror. But, instead of the dazzling 
image of her own beauty, a horrible spectacle met her 
eyes. God had permitted that the deformity of the 
soul within should become visible on the outward 
person. Her hair, bound with gold and jewelled 
chains, she beheld transformed into a mass of coiled 
and venomous serpents; her fair face was darkened 
into that of a hideous negro; her eyes were red and 

Dominican Saints 

fiery, and, instead of her beautiful mouth and ivory Feb. 28 
teeth, there grinned the open jaws of a monster of 
hell. Then Villana's heart opened to know where and 
whence she had fallen. She tore the jewels from her 
hair and left her palace, not for the gay entertainment 
that awaited her, but for the neighbouring church of 
the Dominicans, where, flinging herself at the feet of a 
holy Friar, she made, amidst tears of contrition, the 
confession of her life. 

She returned home to enter upon a rigorous course 
of penance, which continued until her death. To atone 
for her past vanity and to honour the poverty of her 
Divine Master, she thenceforth wore only poor and 
shabby garments, and she divided her time between 
exercises of prayer and austerity and the care of the 
indigent. She earnestly desired to retire to a hermi- 
tage ; her confessor, however, would not permit her to 
do this, but he gave her the habit of the Third Order. 
Trampling under foot all human respect, she wished to 
go from door to door begging alms for her beloved 
poor, and she only relinquished this intention in 
obedience to the will of her husband. She had thor- 
oughly realised the presence of Our Lord in the person 
of His poor; and this truth was yet more vividly 
brought home to her by a miraculous incident. One 
day, as she was returning from church, she found 
a poor sick beggar lying in a miserable condition in 
the street. Taking him in her arms and gathering 
superhuman strength from her charity, Villana carried 
him to one of the public hospitals and laid him on 
a bed, whilst she went to seek the necessary remedies. 
On her return, the bed was empty, and the most care- 
ful inquiries failed to discover any traces of the sick 
beggar, who was always believed to have been our 
Divine Lord Himself. 

On one occasion, when she had had a fierce encoun- 

52 Dominican Saints 

Feb. 28 ter with the devil, Saint Catharine the Martyr appeared 
to her with a beautiful crown in her hand, saying, 
" Be constant, my daughter, and behold the magnificent 
reward which awaits thee in heaven." This vision 
was regarded by Villana as a presage of her approach- 
ing death. From that time her sufferings and maladies 
increased and with them her thirst to endure yet more 
for the Beloved of her soul. " No, Lord," she once 
exclaimed when she felt better, " I do not ask for any 
alleviation of my sufferings but rather that they may 
be increased." 

Having received the Last Sacraments with great 
devotion, she begged to have the Passion of Our 
Lord read to her, and at the words, " Bowing His 
head He gave up the ghost," she placidly expired, 
A.D. 1 360. When the Sisters of the Third Order pre- 
pared the body for burial it became resplendent with 
beauty, and emitted such dazzling rays of light that 
they could not fix their eyes upon it. To satisfy the 
devotion of the people it was left unburied for the 
space of thirty-seven days, and was still perfectly 
incorrupt when laid in the tomb. Villana appeared 
after her death to some holy women who were spend- 
ing the night in prayer, and, in answer to their 
inquiries, she said, "Call me no longer Villana; 
now that I am in heaven I am called Margaret or 
the Pearl." She was beatified by Leo XII., A.D. 1829. 


O God, who didst mercifully call back Thy hand- 
maid, the Blessed Villana, from the snares of the 
world, causing her to pass through all the ways of 
humility and penance, grant, through her intercession, 
that we, confessing our guilt, may find forgiveness 
with Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 53 


translation of tbe Relics or Saint 
Catharine or Siena 

THIS festival was originally established under the Thursday 
name of the Commemoration of Saint Catharine of after 
Siena or Feast of her Espousals, to perpetuate the 
memory of the mysterious favour conferred upon her 
in the year 1367, when the Saint had attained the age 
of twenty. 

The city of Siena was given up to the riotous 
festivities usual at the close of the Carnival, and 
Catharine had shut herself up in her cell, seeking by 
prayer and fasting to make reparation for the offences 
committed by the thoughtless crowds who passed her 
door. Then our Lord appeared to her, and addressed 
her in these words : " Because thou hast forsaken all 
the vanities of the world and set thy love upon Me, 
and because thou hast, for My sake, rather chosen to 
afflict thy body with fasting than to eat flesh with 
others, especially at this time, when all others that 
dwell around thee, yea, and those also who dwell in 
the same house with thee, are banqueting and making 
good cheer, therefore I am determined this day to 
keep a solemn feast with thee and with great joy and 
pomp to espouse thy soul to Me in faith." As He was 
yet speaking, there appeared in the same place the 
most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the be- 
loved disciple Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Paul 
the Apostle, and the great patriarch and founder of 
her Order, Saint Dominic ; and after these came 
the kingly prophet and poet, David, with a musical 
psaltery in his hand, on which he played a heavenly 

54 Dominican Saints 

Thursday melody of ineffable sweetness. Then our Blessed 
Sexa- Lady came to Catharine and took her hand, which 
gesima she held towards her Divine Son, and besought Him 
that He would vouchsafe to espouse her to Himself 
in faith. To which He consented with a very sweet 
and lovely countenance, and, taking out a ring that was 
set about with four precious pearls and had in the 
other part a marvellous rich diamond, He put the 
same on the finger of her right hand, saying thus, 
" Behold, I here espouse thee to Me, Thy Maker and 
Saviour, in faith, which shall continue in thee from 
this time forward, evermore unchanged, until the time 
shall come of a blissful consummation in the joys 
of heaven. Now then, act courageously. Thou art 
armed with faith, and shalt triumph over all thy 
enemies." The vision disappeared, but the ring, 
invisible indeed to other eyes than Catharine's, re- 
mained upon her finger, a mysterious token of the 
love of her Divine Spouse. 

We are expressly told that this event took place on 
" the last day of the Carnival," which in Siena was the 
Tuesday after Sexagesima; but, following the more 
general custom, the feast which commemorates it has 
always been kept on the Thursday. This feast was 
raised to a higher rank and its name changed to that 
of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Catharine 
in the year 1866. 

The holy Virgin of Siena died in Rome, A.D. 1380, 
and was first interred in the cemetery adjoining the 
Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but later on 
the sacred remains were removed by the Master of 
the Order, Blessed Raymund of Capua, formerly her 
confessor, to a stone sarcophagus on the right-hand 
side of the high altar of the church. When he had 
done this, he remembered what Saint Catharine had 
predicted to him on the Eve of Saint Francis, when 

Dominican Saints 55 

they were together at Voragine on their journey back Thursday 
from Avignon, namely, that he should on that same ^^ 
day in a future year cause such a translation of her gesima 
body to be made. Blessed Raymund afterwards 
detached the head from the body and sent it to the 
Convent of San Domenico at Siena, where it was at 
first carefully concealed, as the holy relic could not be 
exposed to public veneration before the Saint had been 
raised to the altars of the Church. Subsequently, 
however probably in the year 1385 Father Ray- 
mund made known to the Consistory of the Republic 
in what manner the head of their beloved fellow-citizen 
had been brought into their midst, and it was resolved 
that a grand festival should be celebrated and a solemn 
procession made to receive the sacred relic, as though 
it had been but newly brought to the city. The most 
touching feature in this celebration, of which minute 
accounts have been preserved to us, was the presence 
of the Saint's aged mother, Lapa, who walked in the 
ranks of the Sisters of the Third Order, close behind 
the canopy, beneath which was borne the head of her 
beloved child. 

It would be tedious to speak of the various relics 
which at different periods have been detached from 
the holy body and bestowed on various convents of 
the Order; of the translation of the sacred remains 
to the Rosary Chapel, made by Saint Antoninus when 
Prior of the Minerva ; and of yet a third translation, 
at the time of Saint Catharine's canonization. A 
fourth and last translation took place in our own 
times. On i/th April, A.D. 1855, when the Church 
of the Minerva was undergoing restoration, the Saint's 
sarcophagus was again opened by Father Alexander 
Vincent Jandel, General of the Order, on which occa- 
sion a considerable portion of the sacred relics was 
taken out and sent by his Most Revd. Paternity to 

5 6 Dominican Saints 

Thursday Saint Dominic's .Convent, Stone, the Mother-House 
Sexa- f tne English Congregation of Sisters of Penance, 
gesima which bears the name of Saint Catharine. On August 
4th of the same year, the restoration of the Minerva 
having been completed, Pius IX. of holy and happy 
memory consecrated the high altar with his own 
hands ; and the remains of the Virgin Saint of Siena, 
after having been carried in solemn procession through 
the streets of the Eternal City, were, a few days later, 
laid to rest beneath the same high altar, where they 
still repose. 


O God, who didst grant to Blessed Catharine, 
adorned with an especial privilege of virginity and 
patience, to overcome the assaults of evil spirits and 
to stand unshaken in the love of Thy Holy Name, 
grant, we beseech Thee, that, after her example, 
treading under foot the wickedness of the world and 
overcoming the wiles of all our enemies, we may 
safely pass onward to Thy glory. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Cbtlstopber or iRifan, Confessor 

(A.D. 1484) 

March i BLESSED CHRISTOPHER was one of the apostolic men 
who flourished in the Order in the fifteenth century. 
He belonged to the great Convent of Saint Eustorgius 
at Milan, and was distinguished for his spirit of prayer 
and penance, and for a remarkable gift of prophecy, of 
which many instances occur in his life. He preached 
with great success in various parts of Italy, specially 
in Western Lombardy. In the year 1460 he exercised 

Dominican Saints 57 

his apostolic functions with such success at Taggia, a March i 
town on the Riviera, not far from San Remo, that the 
inhabitants determined to build a Convent for the 
Friars, in the hope of retaining Father Christopher in 
then midst. The building was raised on a site 
whereon the holy man is said to have seen the Holy 
Ghost descending in the form of a dove, a happy 
augury of the graces and blessings which God in- 
tended to shower down on the future Community. In 
the same place Blessed Christopher also built a large 
chapel in honour of our Blessed Lady, which, in 
obedience to her own command, was dedicated under 
the title of Our Lady of Mercy. 

The servant of God governed this new Convent for 
several years and drew to the Order many excellent 
subjects whom he carefully trained in the way of 
religious perfection. He had an especial zeal for the 
due celebration of the Divine Office and ordained that 
the Father appointed to discharge the office of Heb- 
domadarius, whose duty it was to preside at the 
Divine Office and sing the Conventual Mass, should, 
after the example of the priests who served in the - 
Temple of old, not be allowed to go out, but during 
his week of office be occupied solely in the Divine 
worship and in the work of his own sanctification, 
remaining in solitude with God on behalf of his 
Brethren who were employed in the other offices. 

He also regulated the studies of the religious, 
causing them to devote themselves to the assiduous 
reading of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers, specially 
of the Angelic Doctor. Blessed Christopher has left 
many writings, chiefly sermons, which are preserved 
to this day as most useful for religious, specially for 

The holy man lived to an advanced age, labouring 
indefatigably for the glory of God and the salvation of 

58 Dominican Saints 

March i souls. He was seized with his death-illness whilst 
preaching the Lent in the little town of Pigna. He 
immediately caused himself to be carried back to his 
beloved Convent of Taggia, where he received the 
Holy Sacraments with the utmost devotion, and, sing- 
ing and praying, gave up his soul to God, surrounded 
by his weeping Brethren. His blessed death took 
place in the year 1484. Many miracles were worked 
at his tomb, and the devotion to him has been un- 
interrupted even to our own days. He was beatified 
by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst render Blessed Christopher, Thy 
Confessor, Thy worthy servant, grant that by his 
merits and example we may ever bear Christ in the 
whole intention of our mind and in the whole affec- 
tion of our heart. Who livest and reignest, world 
without end. Amen. 


Blessed fietirp suso, Confessor 

(A.D. 1300-1365) 

March 2. HENRY SuSO was a German by birth, and at the age 
of thirteen took the habit in the Dominican Convent at 
Constance. He showed but little fervour during his 
noviciate and lived in negligence and dissipation till 
he had completed his eighteenth year. But the Divine 
Wisdom, whose devoted disciple he was destined to 
become, was pleased to touch his heart. One day, 
as he sat at table in the refectory, he heard read aloud 
some passages from the Book of Wisdom, which pro- 
duced a powerful effect on his soul. He began to 

Dominican Saints 59 

undertake a thorough change of life, but was beset by March 2 
grievous temptations, all of which he generously and 
perseveringly overcame. For two-and-twenty years 
he practised the most terrific austerities. During 
eight years he wore on his shoulders a cross studded 
with sharp nails ; twice every day he disciplined him- 
self to blood; day and night he wore a hair shirt 
armed with one hundred and fifty sharp iron points ; 
and in addition to these mortifications he observed 
extraordinary abstinence, enduring in particular the 
utmost extremity of thirst. 

Nevertheless, when he had come to his fortieth 
year, it was revealed to him, that, after all these 
sufferings, he had only reached the first degree ol 
true mortification, and that, if he would attain the 
perfect love of God, he must consent to pass through 
far more searching trials. He had to endure the 
most cruel calumnies, frightful interior desolation, the 
loss of friends and of reputation, and a thousand other 
crosses ; yet in the midst of all these afflictions, which 
were exquisitely painful to his sensitive heart, he 
never lost confidence or courage. 

Blessed Henry Suso bore a tender devotion to the 
Holy Name of Jesus. He engraved it with a sharp 
penknife over his heart, and found in that adorable 
Name a buckler of defence against all the assaults of 
his enemies. This devotion to the Holy Name was 
widely diffused amongst his spiritual children, many 
of whom used to wear a small scapular, on which were 
embroidered the letters I.H.S. 

His love for our Blessed Lady was of the tenderest 
and most childlike description. During the Christmas 
season he always deprived himself of a portion of the 
fruit served at table, offering it in spirit to her and 
praying her to give it to her Divine Child, for whose 
sake he went without it. As soon as the first flowers 

60 Dominican Saints 

March 2 appeared in spring, he hastened to weave a garland 
which he placed on the head of Mary's statue in the 
Lady Chapel, in the hope that, as she was the fairest 
of all flowers and the bliss of summer to his heart, she 
would not disdain to accept these first flowers from 
her servant. He had many devotional practices in 
honour of his Heavenly Mother and she sometimes 
deigned to show herself to him in vision. 

Full of zeal for the salvation of souls, Blessed Henry 
laboured constantly in the ministry of the Word, and 
was one of the most renowned preachers and spiritual 
directors of his day. He was endowed with a sublime 
gift of prayer and the numerous spiritual works which 
he composed won for him in his own time the title 
of the Ecstatic Doctor. The best known of his writings 
is his " Little Book of Eternal Wisdom," which treats 
chiefly of the Passion of Our Lord. 

Blessed Henry passed to a better life in the Convent 
of Ulm in Germany, on the 25th January, A.D. 1365. 
From the time of his death he was beatified by the 
voice of the people, and Pope Gregory XVI. approved 
of the veneration which had been paid to him from 
time immemorial and gave permission for his Office 
to be celebrated throughout the Dominican Order. 


O God, who didst make Thy holy Confessor, 
Blessed Henry, wonderful for charity and bodily 
mortification, grant that in all our works we may 
have the marks of Christ crucified upon us and ever 
bear His love in our hearts. Through the same 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 61 


Blessed Jordan of Pisa, Confessor 

(Died A.D. 1311) 

BLESSED JORDAN of Pisa, called also Jordan of March 6 
Rivalto, was born in Italy in the latter half of the 
thirteenth century. After studying humanities at 
Paris, he took the habit of the Dominican Order at 
Pisa, A.D. 1280. Having completed his noviciate he 
pursued his studies at the Universities of Bologna 
and Paris and became a distinguished lector, teaching 
with great success in some of the most important 
convents of the Order. Blessed Jordan's learning 
was said to excel that of all the other Fathers of his 
Province put together. Besides being an eminent 
philosopher and theologian, he had studied Greek 
and Hebrew, and was gifted with so prodigious a 
memory that he is reported to have known by heart 
the Breviary and Missal, the greater part of the Bible, 
and a large portion of the Summa of Saint Thomas. 
But his renown as a saintly religious and an apostolic 
preacher far exceeded even his reputation for learning. 
Following the new custom just then coming into vogue, 
he used to preach in Italian instead of Latin, and the 
fragments of his sermons which have come down to 
us are regarded as models of pure and beautiful 
diction. The Italian language at that time was as yet 
unformed. The irruptions of the northern nations 
had corrupted the dialects spoken in various parts of 
the Peninsula, and there might be said to be no 
vocabulary of purely Italian words. In spite of these 
difficulties, Jordan succeeded in forming for himself 
a beautiful system of language and we are expressly 

62 Dominican Saints 

March 6 told that the words he used were intelligible to all. 
These words in no way differ from those now in use ; 
whence Blessed Jordan is justly entitled to the 
honour of being among the first to give its present 
fixed and beautiful form to the Tuscan tongue. 

The holy man exercised his apostolic ministry in 
many cities of Italy and probably also in Germany. 
But Florence was the chief scene of his labours and 
his popularity there was unbounded. He sometimes 
preached as often as five times on the same day and 
to the same audience, who never wearied of listening 
to his words. As the churches were too small to 
contain the crowds who flocked to hear him, he fre- 
quently delivered his discourses in the public squares. 
Italy, at the close of the thirteenth century, was a prey 
to terrible dissensions and to the deadly feuds of the 
Guelphs and Ghibellines ; but by dint of prayer and 
preaching Blessed Jordan succeeded in extinguishing 
all animosity for a time in Florence and in establishing 
peace between the rival factions. The city was com- 
pletely transformed, the women laid aside their 
luxurious apparel, sinners abandoned their vices and 
gave themselves fervently to the practice of virtue ; and 
the holy man was able to say with regard to his peni- 
tents, " I know many who are prepared to sacrifice 
their property and even life itself, rather than commit a 
mortal sin." His success at Pisa was equally great, 
and a Confraternity in honour of our Divine Saviour 
established by him in that city subsists even to our 
own day. His style of preaching was eloquent but 
simple, and adapted to the capacity of his audience, 
and his sermons were interspersed with anecdotes, 
usually drawn from Holy Scripture. His confidence 
in God and in the efficacy of prayer knew no bounds. 
Preaching one day on the conditions which should 
accompany prayer, he exclaimed, " If you pray thus, 

Dominican Saints 63 

I swear to you by Christ, by the Holy Scriptures, by all March 6 
the Saints, and by my own soul, that you will obtain 
whatever you ask; for heaven and earth would sooner 
perish than that your prayer should go unheard." 

Blessed Jordan had a filial devotion to our Blessed 
Lady. The old chronicle records that it was always 
he who began her Office in the dormitory, and he did 
so with a voice so loud and clear and fervent as to 
animate his Brethren to similar piety. One day a 
beautiful vision was granted to him as he sat at table 
in the refectory. He beheld the Queen of Heaven, 
escorted by two princesses of paradise and by a 
multitude of angels, bringing food to the Brethren and 
serving them with their own hands. The name of his 
Holy Father Saint Dominic was constantly on his lips 
and he lost no opportunity of celebrating his praises 
in the pulpit. 

In the midst of all his success, the servant of God 
ever preserved profound humility of heart and had 
a horror of all earthly honours and dignities. His 
superiors, however, were anxious that he should take 
his Doctor's degree and in obedience to their com- 
mands he accordingly set out for Paris. But on 
arriving at Piacenza, he fell sick and piously departed 
to our Lord on the I9th of August, A.D. 1311, being 
assisted on his death-bed by the Master-General and 
other members of his Order. When the sad news 
reached Pisa, the principal inhabitants at once set out 
for Piacenza to bring back the sacred remains, which 
were met outside the city by a vast concourse of 
people, weeping and mourning over the loss of their 
beloved fellow-citizen. Many miraculous favours were 
granted through his intercession and the walls of the 
Dominican Church in which he was interred became 
covered with pictures and ex-votos, bearing witness 
to his power with God. 

64 Dominican Saints 

March 6 Pope Gregory XVI. approved the veneration which 
for upwards of five centuries had been rendered to 
Blessed Jordan, and gave permission for the annual 
celebration of his festival throughout the Dominican 
Order and in the diocese of Pisa. 


O God, who madest Thy holy Confessor, Blessed 
Jordan, a fitting minister for the preaching of the 
Gospel, grant that we, in imitation of him, may do the 
works which Thou ordainest and so gain the fruit of 
eternal salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Saint Cftotnas Houinas, Confessor, Doctor of 
tbe CDurcb, and Patron of Catholic Schools 

(A.D. 1225-1274) 

March 7 SAINT THOMAS was born of noble parents about the 
year 1225, in the fortress of Rocca-Secca, in the south 
of Italy ; and to the neighbouring little town of Aquino 
he owed his surname of Aquinas. When he was 
quite a child, a terrific thunderstorm burst over the 
castle, and his nurse and little sister were struck dead 
in the very chamber in which Thomas slept on un- 
harmed. This circumstance accounts for the great 
fear of thunder and lightning which the Saint is said 
to have had through his life, which caused him often 
to take refuge in the church during a thunderstorm, 
even leaning his head against the tabernacle, so as to 
place himself as closely as possible under the pro- 
tection of our Lord; hence the popular devotion to 
him as patron against thunderstorms and sudden 
death. The words Ave Maria were the first which 

Dominican Saints 65 

his baby lips were heard to utter ; and, long before he March 7 
could read, to place a book in his hands was dis- 
covered to be an unfailing means of drying his tears 
in all his childish troubles. 

When only five years old, his education was begun 
by the monks of the celebrated Benedictine Abbey 
of Monte Cassino and by the time he had reached 
his eleventh year he had made such progress that his 
parents sent him under the care of a tutor to the newly 
founded University of Naples. The Dominican Church 
in that city became one of his favourite resorts, and, 
whilst still quite a boy, he asked and obtained the 
habit of the Order. As the Saint and his religious 
Brethren believed his family to be extremely averse to 
the step he had taken, he was hurried off to Rome, 
whence it was intended to remove him to Paris. But, 
on the way thither he was waylaid by his brothers, 
two young officers in the service of the Emperor, and 
sent back to his angry parents at Rocca-Secca. Here 
he was imprisoned in one of the towers of the castle, 
where he had to suffer cold, hunger, and every sort of 
privation. Worse than this, his brothers even went 
so far as to introduce a woman of evil life into his 
chamber ; but with a flaming brand snatched from the 
hearth the Saint drove the miserable creature from his 
presence. With the same brand he then traced a 
cross upon the wall ; and, casting himself upon his 
knees before it, besought of God to grant him the gift 
of perpetual chastity. As he prayed, he fell into an 
ecstasy, during which two angels appeared and girded 
him with a miraculous cord, at the same time assuring 
him that his petition had been granted. In memory of 
this event a Confraternity was established in the 
sixteenth century, called the "Angelic Warfare," to 
obtain through the intercession of Saint Thomas the 
virtue of chastity. This Confraternity still flourishes. 


66 Dominican Saints 

March 7 Discovering that his constancy was not to be over- 
come by persecution, his disappointed relatives at 
length connived at his escape, and he was let down 
from the tower in a basket to the Friars who by 
appointment were waiting below. They carried off 
their rescued treasure to Naples, where he was im- 
mediately admitted to profession. Thence he was sent 
to Cologne, where he became the disciple of Blessed 
Albert the Great, the renowned Dominican professor 
of the day. The humble Saint at first succeeded in 
concealing his extraordinary talents from the know- 
ledge of his Brethren, but when at length they were 
accidentally discovered, his delighted Master ex- 
claimed, " We call Brother Thomas ' the dumb ox ; ' 
but I tell you he will one day make his bellowing 
heard to the uttermost parts of the earth." Blessed 
Albert and his saintly pupil afterwards taught together, 
with immense applause, first at Paris and subsequently 
at Cologne. It was in the University of the former 
city that Saint Thomas took his degrees, first as 
Bachelor and afterwards as Doctor in Theology. On 
both these occasions he had as his companion his 
beloved friend, the great Franciscan theologian, Saint 

Saint Thomas commented on the works of Aristotle, 
and, having purged the text of the pagan philosopher 
from everything that was opposed to the truths of 
faith, established a complete system of Christian philo- 
sophy. Amongst his many works we may mention his 
" Summa against the Gentiles," his treatises on the 
Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Creed, and, most 
important of all, his " Summa of Theology," which, 
however, he did not live to complete. It was at his 
earnest entreaty that Pope Urban IV. extended the 
celebration of the Festival of Corpus Christi, already 
kept in Germany and the Low Countries, to the 

Dominican Saints 67 

Universal Church. The Saint wrote the Office for the March 7 
feast and was the author of those hymns to the 
Blessed Sacrament with which we are all familiar from 
their use in processions and at Benediction. He also 
composed the Adoro Te and the Anima Christi ("Soul 
of Christ, sanctify me," &c.), which was a favourite 
prayer with Saint Ignatius. On one occasion our 
Lord spoke to him from a crucifix, saying, "Thou 
hast written well of me, Thomas, what reward wilt 
thou have ? " To which the Saint replied, " No other 
than Thyself, O Lord." 

Saint Thomas had not yet completed his fiftieth 
year, when, worn out by his labours in preaching and 
teaching, he breathed his last at the Benedictine Abbey 
of Fossa Nuova, on his way to attend the General 
Council of Lyons. His death took place on the 7th of 
March, A.D. 1274. He was canonized A.D. 1323 by 
John XXII.; A.D. 1567, Saint Pius V. conferred on 
him the title of Doctor of the Church; and A.D. 1880, 
Leo XIII. declared him patron of all Catholic universi- 
ties, academies, colleges, and schools. 

Humility was ever the characteristic virtue of this 
great servant of God and from his humility sprang 
his extreme modesty in the expression of his opinion. 
Though raised so high above others by his gigantic 
intellectual powers, Saint Thomas was the sweetest 
and most charitable of masters and of fathers, always 
ready to stoop to the capacity of the youngest and 
dullest of his scholars. No matter how important the 
affair might be on which he was engaged, his cell was 
always open to his Brethren whenever they wished to 
speak to him, and he would cheerfully turn from the 
most absorbing occupation to give them his undivided 
attention. Most touching and beautiful is the account 
left us of his manner of spending his time and of the 
means he adopted for sanctifying the ordinary actions 

68 Dominican Saints 

March 7 of the day by devotional practices. But the limited 
space at our disposal in this short biography compels 
us to conclude. We can but mention one out of many 
of his remarkable sayings, viz., the answer given 
by him to his sister when she asked him what she 
must do to become a Saint. " Velle" he replied, i.e. 
" Will it." 

(As on the Feast of his Translation, Jan. 28, p. 21.) 


Blessed Peter di Jeremia, Confessor 

(A.D. 1381-1452) 

March 10 BLESSED PETER was born of noble parents in the city 
of Palermo in Sicily and gave early signs, not only of 
surpassing genius, but of much devotion and sanctity. 
He went through his studies with great distinction in 
the University of Bologna and was about to take his 
degree as Doctor in Law, when an extraordinary cir- 
cumstance turned his thoughts from worldly honours 
and led him to consecrate himself wholly to God. 
One night, as he was studying in his chamber, which 
was on the third storey, he was startled by loud and 
repeated knocks at the window. Summoning up all 
his courage, he inquired who his supernatural visitor 
might be. " I am such a one," was the reply, " thy 
relative. After having taken my Doctor's degree, I 
was called to the bar, where, as thou knowest, I dis- 
charged my duties with much distinction and success. 
Blind and miserable wretch ! I spent all my time in 
defending others and I undertook very unjust causes 
in order to obtain for myself honour and wealth, 

Dominican Saints 69 

contrary to the dictates of ray conscience. Alas ! I March 10 
found none to plead my cause before the terrible 
judgment-seat of God and I am condemned to ever- 
lasting torments. But, before the ministers of the 
Divine justice cast me into hell, I have been sent to 
give thee this warning : flee from the tribunals of men 
if thou wouldst fain be acquitted before the judgment- 
seat of God." Then, with a despairing howl, the 
terrible visitor departed. 

Peter instantly formed the resolution of consecrating 
himself entirely to the service of God and there and 
then took a vow of perpetual chastity. When morning 
dawned, he went to a locksmith and procured an iron 
chain of fourteen pounds' weight, with which he girded 
himself, passing it three times round his waist and 
riveting it by a plate of copper. During the remain- 
ing fifty-one years of his life, this terrible instrument 
of penance was never laid aside, and, when his body 
was prepared for burial, it was found deeply imbedded 
in the flesh. After earnest prayer that he might be 
directed in his choice of the religious Order in which 
he should devote himself to the Divine service, he 
entered the Dominican noviceship at Bologna, A.D. 

After the completion of his studies, Blessed Peter 
became a distinguished preacher and exercised his 
apostolic ministry all over Italy. So numerous were 
the conversions wrought by his sermons, that Saint 
Vincent Ferrer, when visiting Bologna, asked to see 
him, embraced him affectionately, and exhorted him to 
persevere in this blessed work, to which he was visibly 
called by God. 

The holy man took an active part in the General 
Council of Florence, held under the pontificate of 
Eugenius IV. for the reunion of the Greek and Latin 
Churches. All the Fathers of the Council were in 

Dominican Saints 

March 10 admiration at his zeal for the faith, his profound learn- 
ing, and the cogency of his arguments, and the Pope 
sought to manifest his appreciation of his services by 
raising him to high ecclesiastical dignities. All these 
the holy man steadfastly declined ; he was, however, 
compelled to accept the office of Apostolic Visitor in 
Sicily, though out of humility he begged that his 
powers might be limited to the restoration of regular 
observance amongst religious and especially his own 
Order. His labours in this difficult and delicate work 
were singularly blessed; he not only re-established 
strict discipline in the Convents, many of which had 
fallen into relaxation during the Great Schism of the 
West, but became the apostle of the island. The fruits 
of his preaching in Palermo were so abundant that the 
churches were too small to contain the crowds who 
flocked to hear him and he was often obliged to 
deliver his sermons in the public squares or in the 
open country. In reward for his zeal, God frequently 
worked miracles, enabling his voice to be heard to a 
distance of upwards of half a league. 

Blessed Peter's attraction was to the contemplative 
life, and he spent great part of his days and nights in 
prayer and in the practice of the severest austerities, 
similar to those of the ancient Fathers of the Desert. 
Many miracles are recorded to have been worked by 
this faithful servant of God. When he was Prior of 
the Convent of Palermo, the Procurator one day came 
to tell him that there were no provisions in the 
Convent. Blessed Peter immediately set out for a 
place on the sea-shore two miles from the city to beg 
an alms of the fishermen; for he knew that great 
quantities of tunny fish were being caught at that time. 
The fishermen drove him away with abuse, rudely 
refusing to let him have a single fish. The holy man 
answered nothing, but, returning to his little boat, 

Dominican Saints 71 

directed his course back to Palermo. The shoals of March to 

fish were enclosed alive in great stake-nets; but, as 

soon as Blessed Peter left the shore, they all leapt out 

of their prisons and swam in a vast body after his 

boat, as though determined not to remain the prey 

of these churlish men, though willing to be taken by 

him. The dismayed fishermen then hurried after the 

man of God and besought his pardon. The holy Prior 

made the sign of the cross; whereupon the fishes 

obediently returned to the nets ; and, having received 

the assistance he required, Blessed Peter went back to 

his Convent. 

When his term of office as Prior was ended, he 
was made Master of Novices and set himself with 
the utmost vigilance and fervour to train the young 
souls committed to his charge. It pleased the Divine 
Majesty to perfect His servant by subjecting him to 
many grievous bodily infirmities, which he looked 
upon in the light of heavenly favours. When allowed 
some respite from his sufferiugs, he would lovingly 
complain of it to God; and, being once asked why 
he grieved at the cessation of his pains, he replied, 
" Because when I am not in pain it seems to me that 
God is withdrawing His hand from me." As he lay 
on his death-bed he began to recite the i2Oth Psalm, 
and on coming to the last verse, " May the Lord pre- 
serve thy going in and thy coming out, from hence- 
forth, now, and evermore," he repeated the words 
three times, and then happily departed to our Lord 
on March 7, A.D. 1452. He was beatified by Pius 
VI., A.D. 1784. 


O God, who by the prayers and exhortations of 
Blessed Peter, Thy Confessor, didst mercifully cause 
many wanderers to return to the path of righteousness, 

72 Dominican Saints 

March 10 enlarge our hearts, we beseech Thee, through his holy 
intercession, that we may ever run in the way of Thy 
commandments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Sibpllina Biscossi, Virgin 

(A.D. 1287-1367) 

March 18 SlBYLLINA BlSCOSSI was born at Pavia, in Italy, of 
devout and respectable parents, A.D. 1287, and from 
her infancy was noted for her spirit of piety and 
prayer. She was left an orphan at an early age, and 
when she was only twelve years old a severe illness 
entirely deprived her of sight. Some charitable Sisters 
of the Third Order of Saint Dominic took charge of 
the afflicted child and clothed her in their habit. Her 
blindness was a heavy trial to Sibyllina, and for many 
months she earnestly besought the Holy Patriarch who 
had adopted her as his child to obtain for her from 
God the restoration of her sight. When at length 
Saint Dominic's feast came round she confidently 
hoped to obtain the grant of her petition. But the 
day wore on and still her prayer remained unan- 
swered. At length the Saint appeared to her, and, 
taking her by the hand, led her on a mysterious 
journey. Their road at first lay through the midst 
of narrow and darksome places, the sight of which 
filled Sibyllina's soul with horror. Then her heavenly 
guide conducted her through regions of unutterable 
beauty, all flooded with celestial light. We are not 
told whether or no the Holy Patriarch spoke to Sibyl- 
lina on this occasion, but on returning to herself she 
no longer felt the slightest wish to be cured of her 
blindness, which she understood to be figured by the 

Dominican Saints 73 

first part of her vision, and which she trusted would be March 18 
the means of bringing her to the enjoyment of never- 
ending happiness. Accepting with her whole heart 
the cross which had been laid upon her, she now began 
to devote herself with greater fervour than ever to 
the Divine service and specially to meditation on the 

When she was sufficiently instructed in the exer- 
cises of the spiritual life, she left the Community of 
Tertiaries to which she had hitherto belonged, and 
began at the age of fifteen to lead the life of a recluse 
in a little cell adjoining the Church of the Friars 
Preachers, where she spent the remaining sixty-four 
years of her earthly pilgrimage, leaving it only twice 
during the whole of this period, and then under obedi- 
ence. For seven years she practised the most terrific 
austerities, which she was at length obliged in some 
degree to moderate. Then God made known to her 
those secrets of contemplation and of interior mor- 
tification of the will, which are of higher value than 
any bodily exercises. She was favoured with many 
heavenly visions and revelations. Penetrated with a 
lively devotion to the Holy Ghost, she always prepared 
with the utmost fervour for the Feast of Pentecost, on 
which day she was wont to receive singular graces. 
In her zeal for the conversion of souls she showed 
herself a true daughter of Saint Dominic and she was 
far from allowing either her blindness or her solitary 
life to interfere with her discharge of charitable offices 
to her neighbour. A small window opened from her 
cell, through which she received her daily portion of 
food and communicated with those who sought her 
counsels. Uneducated as she was, she nevertheless 
spoke of Divine things with such fluency, unction, 
and theological precision that she might have been 
supposed to be familiar with the Soliloquies of Saint 

74 Dominican Saints 

March 18 Augustine and the Meditations of Saint Bernard. 
Great numbers of sinners were converted by her 
prayers and pious exhortations. 

Blessed Sibyllina possessed a singular gift of 
spiritual discernment and on one occasion warned 
a priest who was carrying the Viaticum to the sick 
that the host he bore was not consecrated, which 
proved on inquiry to be the case. The sensible 
sweetness which she always felt in the nearness of 
the Blessed Sacrament served to warn her of the 
moment of consecration whenever a priest celebrated 
Mass in the church adjoining her cell or bore the 
Blessed Sacrament past her window to the sick. 

This holy and afflicted servant of God departed to 
her Spouse on Friday, March 19, 1367, being in the 
eightieth year of her age. Many extraordinary graces 
having been obtained through her intercession, she 
was beatified by Pius IX. Her body was found in- 
corrupt when her tomb was opened in the year 1853. 
She is held in special veneration by servants, in 
consequence of a tradition that she had lived in 
domestic service, doubtless in her childhood, and a 
pious Confraternity of servants is established in Pavia 
under her patronage. 


O God, who didst enlighten Blessed Sibyllina, 
Thy Virgin, when deprived of corporal sight, with 
admirable clearness of spiritual vision, grant us that, 
by her intercession, we may despise the glory of this 
world and earnestly seek after that which is eternal. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 75 


Blessed Ambrose Sansedonio, Confessor 

(A.D. 1220-1286) 

AMBROSE was born of noble parents at Siena, in March 22 
Tuscany, on April 1 6, A.D. 1220. His mother, who 
had experienced extraordinary interior consolation 
whilst expecting his birth, was filled with bitter grief 
on finding the infant deformed and hideous. Unable 
to bear the painful sight, she sent him away to be 
brought up by strangers. One day, as his nurse 
was holding him in her arms at her cottage door, a 
venerable pilgrim passed by and gazed fixedly upon 
him, whereupon she veiled his face to conceal his 
ugliness. But the stranger, obeying a divine inspira- 
tion, said to her, " Woman, hide not the face of that 
child ; he will one day be the light and glory of this 
city." So the nurse took courage and every day 
when she went to pray in the church of the newly 
founded Friars Preachers, she took the child with her, 
his face still veiled. He always testified extreme 
reluctance to leave a certain altar in this church, on 
which some precious relics were preserved. One 
day, when the cries and tears of the infant had induced 
his nurse to carry him back to his favourite altar 
before returning home, he suddenly stretched out his 
little arms and legs, which until now had been 
distorted and motionless, raised his hands to heaven, 
and pronounced three times in a loud and distinct 
tone the holy name of Jesus. The blackened and 
disfigured countenance was now found to be radiant 
with beauty, every trace of deformity was gone for 

7 6 Dominican Saints 

March 22 The after-childhood of Ambrose was distinguished 
by a holiness beyond his years. Every day he 
recited the Office of our Blessed Lady and would 
rise by night to meditate when only seven years old. 
He was accustomed to visit and relieve the sick 
in the hospitals and prisoners in their dungeons. 
His love for the poor was very great, and he obtained 
his father's permission to bring home and lodge 
five needy pilgrims every Saturday. This act of 
charity was rewarded even in this life, for five angels 
appeared to the boy one night, singing sweet harmonies, 
and said to him, " Ambrose, we are the five pilgrims 
whom thou hast been wont to entertain for the love 
of God." In spite of the allurements of the world, 
the earnest entreaties of his family, and the open 
assaults of Satan, he very early resolved to embrace 
the religious life, and received the Dominican habit 
on his seventeenth birthday, humbly kissing the feet 
of all the Brethren before being admitted into their 

Some time after his profession, Ambrose was sent 
to Paris to study under Blessed Albert the Great, 
and here he had Saint Thomas Aquinas as a fellow- 
disciple. When Blessed Albert returned to Cologne 
in the year 1248, he took his two holy pupils back 
with him to teach under his supervision. Although 
Blessed Ambrose, from motives of humility, never 
took his Doctor's degree, yet he was a renowned 
Lector and taught with great edification during thirty 
years in various Convents of his Order. At the same 
time he did not neglect the duty of preaching, especially 
in vacation-time ; and his powerful eloquence converted 
many sinners and contributed not a little to re- 
establish peace in Italy, then torn by intestine quarrels 
and the factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. He 
was held in great esteem by successive Popes, who 

Dominican Saints 77 

repeatedly employed him in important missions of March 22 

peace, in reconciling heretics to the Church, and in 

preaching the Crusade in various parts of Europe. 

They were anxious to signify their appreciation of 

his singular services by raising him to the episcopate, 

but humility was ever his most characteristic virtue, 

and he steadily refused every offer of promotion. His 

example gave weight to his words. It was his inviolable 

custom never to go to the altar to offer the Holy 

Sacrifice until he had first asked pardon of any whom 

he believed to be irritated against him, and his perfect 

sweetness and humility under trying circumstances 

had power to soften the hardest hearts. One of his 

special devotions was to pray for those who were 

about to enter the married state, that God would bless 

their union and grant them all the graces needful for 

their salvation. Hence, after his death, it became a 

custom for the maidens of Siena to offer a wax candle 

at his tomb to obtain a blessing on their marriage. 

His interior life was one of almost uninterrupted 
prayer. Many a time were the angels seen present 
when he celebrated Mass, which he seldom did without 
ecstasies. Often, when he preached, his body was 
miraculously raised from the ground and his head was 
seen surrounded by a circle, not of glory, but of birds 
of various and brilliant plumage ; and in the midst 
of this new and beautiful nimbus a face of wondrous 
majesty would sometimes appear, looking down upon 
Ambrose with a glance of unutterable love, and a hand 
which seemed to hold the universe in its grasp would 
be outstretched in benediction over his head. We are 
indebted for these particulars to a holy penitent of his, 
Nera Tolomei, to whom Our Lord also revealed that 
He appeared to Blessed Ambrose shortly before his 
death and said to him, " If thou desirest to remain in 
this life, thou shalt send many souls to heaven by thy 

7 8 Dominican Saints 

March 22 preaching ; if, on the other hand, thou wouldst rather 
come to Me now, I will, in consideration of thy merits, 
release five thousand souls from Purgatory and admit 
them to glory together with thee." The holy man 
resigned himself entirely to the Divine will, adding, 
however, the words, " Nevertheless, I would willingly 
quit this world/' Then the Divine Master bade the 
Saints, in whose honour Blessed Ambrose had so often 
preached, go forth to meet his happy soul ; and Nera 
beheld him clothed in the pontifical robes which his 
humility had led him persistently to refuse on earth, 
and placed in the ranks of the Apostles, whose labours 
for souls he had striven to emulate. His happy death 
took place in the year 1286. Both in life and after 
death he was illustrious for miracles. His name was 
enrolled in the Roman Marty rology, A.D. 1597, and in 
the following century Pope Gregory XV. gave leave 
for his feast to be celebrated throughout the Dominican 


May this glad Festival of Blessed Ambrose, Thy 
Confessor, give joy to Thy Church, O God, and may it 
ever be defended by all spiritual helps and made 
worthy to be blessed with everlasting joys. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Stigmata of Saint Catharine or Siena 

(A.D. 1375) 

Aprils AMONG the many supernatural privileges granted by 
Our Lord to His chosen spouse, Saint Catharine of 
Siena, one of the greatest was unquestionably the 

Dominican Saints 79 

impression of the sacred Stigmata. This mysterious April 3 
favour was granted to the Saint on the Fourth Sunday 
of Lent, April i, A.D. 1375, in the little Church of 
Saint Christina at Pisa, to which city she had been 
sent by the Pope on an important embassy. Already, 
five years previously, whilst in her native city of Siena, 
Our Lord had vouchsafed to imprint on her the wound 
of the right hand, in token of having granted the 
prayer she had offered to Him on behalf of her Con- 
fessor, Father Thomas della Fonte, and others. This 
wound caused excruciating pain but was visible to no 
eyes except her own. We cannot better give the 
account of her reception of the five wounds than in 
her own words and those of Blessed Raymund of 
Capua, who had by that time become her Confessor. 
He had celebrated Mass and administered Holy Com- 
munion to the Saint and her companions, after which, 
as was usual with her, Catharine remained a long time 
in ecstasy. "We waited," says Blessed Raymund, 
41 until she should recover her senses, hoping to receive 
some spiritual consolation from her ; when suddenly 
we beheld her, who until then had been lying prostrate 
on the ground, rise a little, then kneel and extend her 
hands and arms. Her countenance appeared all on 
fire, and thus she remained for a long time perfectly 
motionless. Then, as though she had received a 
deadly wound, we saw her fall suddenly and a few 
moments later she came to herself. She immediately 
sent for me and said to me in a low tone, l Father, I 
have to make known to you that, by the mercy of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, I now bear His Sacred Stigmata in 
my body/ I replied that I had guessed as much from 
what I had observed during her ecstasy and asked 
her in what manner it had come to pass. She replied, 
saying, 'I beheld Our Lord fastened to His Cross 
coming down towards me, surrounded by a great and 

8o Dominican Saints 

April 3 wonderful light. Then my soul was all ravished with 
the desire to go forth and meet its Creator, so that by 
the very force of my spirit, as you might see, my body 
was constrained to rise. Then there came down from 
the holes of His Blessed Wounds five rays as though 
of blood, which were directed towards the same parts 
of my body, namely, my hands, feet, and heart. I 
understood the mystery and cried out, saying, ' Ah ! 
Lord God, I beseech Thee, let no signs of these holy 
marks appear outwardly to the eyes of men ! ' And, 
whilst I was yet speaking, those rays, that were before 
of a sanguine red, changed to a marvellous brightness ; 
and so in the form of most pure light they rested upon 
those five parts of my body.' Then I asked her if no 
beam of light had reached her right side. She replied, 
'No; it fell on the left side, and directly above the 
heart ; for the ray of light that came from the right 
side of Our Lord did not strike me obliquely but 
directly.' Then I inquired if she felt any sensible 
pain in those places; on which, sighing deeply, she 
answered, ' I feel in those five places, but specially 
in my heart, so great and violent a pain, that, unless 
Almighty God be pleased to work a new miracle, I 
cannot live.' ' 

Blessed Raymund goes on to tell how he and her 
other disciples united in prayer that their spiritual 
Mother might be spared to them and how they im- 
plored her to join her prayers with theirs for this 
intention, and how, on the following Sunday, after the 
Saint had received Holy Communion, she regained 
strength and vigour. 

During the lifetime of Saint Catharine the stigmata 
remained invisible, but after her death they were seen 
by several persons ; and in the centre of the palm of 
her hand, now preserved as a sacred relic in the Con- 
vent of SS. Domenico e Sisto in Rome, there is an 

Dominican Saints 81 

appearance as though all the substance of the hand April 3 
under the skin had in that part been pierced or re- 
moved ; so that, when a lighted candle is placed behind 
it, a spot of light becomes distinctly visible, shining as 
it were through the thin integument. 

The Office of the Stigmata of Saint Catharine was 
first granted by Pope Benedict XIII. to the whole 
Order of Saint Dominic, and afterwards, at the re- 
quest of the Dukes of Tuscany, was extended to every 
part of their dominions. 

From the fact that April thus opens and closes with 
festivals of Saint Catharine, the custom has arisen 
amongst her clients of dedicating the whole month in 
a special manner to her by daily devotions in her 

(As on the Feast of the Translation, p. 56.) 


Saint Vincent Ferrer, Confessor 

(A.D. 1346-1419) 

THIS great ornament of the Dominican Order was Aprils 
born about the year 1346 at Valentia in Spain, of 
pious and well-to-do parents. Even before his birth 
wonderful signs presaged his future sanctity; and, 
after a childhood of singular holiness, he took the 
habit of a Friar Preacher when entering on his 
eighteenth year. During the years of study and 
teaching which followed his profession, he doubtless 
practised the lesson he so beautifully gives to others 
in his " Treatise on the Spiritual Life," a book which 
in its day enjoyed as great a popularity as the " Imi- 


82 Dominican Saints 

April 5 tation of Christ " and the " Spiritual Combat " in our 
own times. " When you are reading or studying, you 
should often turn to our Lord to converse with Him, 
and to ask Him to give you understanding. . . . Hide 
yourself in the Wounds of Jesus and then resume 
your reading." 

Never, perhaps, had Europe stood in such need of 
being evangelized by a Saint as during the latter half 
of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth 
century. Two terrible scourges, each bringing count- 
less evils in its train, were desolating the Church and 
the world. One was the awful pestilence known as the 
Black Death, which is said to have carried off one third 
of the human race ; the other was the Great Schism, 
during which sometimes as many as three rival Popes 
divided the allegiance of Christendom. It was by no 
means easy at the time to know which election had 
been valid ; and, whilst England remained faithful to 
the true Pope, France and Spain, probably in perfect 
good faith, supported the Anti-Pope, who had established 
himself at Avignon. Saint Vincent Ferrer was for 
some time Confessor to the Anti-Pope, Peter de Luna 
(Benedict XIII.). The anxieties of this office caused 
the Saint a severe illness, but our Lord appeared to 
him and cured him, at the same time bidding him quit 
the Pontifical Court and go forth to preach throughout 
the length and breadth of France and Spain the 
approach of the Last Judgment. With extreme diffi- 
culty the Saint at length obtained from Benedict per- 
mission to obey the command, and entered upon his 
commission with ample powers as Legate of the Apos- 
tolic See. The Divine Head of the Church, who was 
thus providing for her needs in her hour of trial, en- 
dowed this messenger with miraculous gifts almost 
unparalleled in history. 

The remaining twenty years of Saint Vincent's life 

Dominican Saints 83 

were spent in evangelizing the countries which our Aprils 
Lord had assigned to him as his field of labour. He 
also preached in Savoy and Italy. In Christian art he 
is depicted with wings, in allusion to the passage in 
the Apocalypse relating to the " angel flying through 
the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel, to 
preach unto them that sit upon the earth, and over 
every nation, and tribe, and tongue and people," 
bidding them "fear the Lord, and give Him honour, 
because the hour of His judgment is come." For 
the common theme of Saint Vincent's preaching was 
to exhort men to prepare for the coming of the Judge. 
A large multitude of people was accustomed to ac- 
company the Saint from place to place, the number 
amounting to many thousands. These often followed 
him either simply from devotion and to have the advan- 
tage of his daily sermon, or they were penitents, great 
sinners converted by him and anxious to atone for 
their past life. It was calculated that more than 
100,000 persons, who were considered hopelessly 
obstinate in an openly wicked life, were brought to 
sincere and lasting repentance by the preaching of 
Saint Vincent. Wherever he appeared, heresy was 
put to flight, enemies were reconciled, and deadly 
feuds extinguished. God was pleased by his means 
to convert 25,000 Jews and 8000 Moors in various 
parts of Spain. By his persuasion a large number of 
churches, monasteries, and hospitals were erected in 
various places and he also caused many bridges to be 
built over rivers for the benefit of the people. He 
loved to collect children around him and would teach 
them how to make the sign of the cross and to say 
the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Creed, instructing 
them in the simplest words how to show their love for 
God, to obey their parents, and to do good to others. 
He is regarded in Spain as the special patron of 

84 Dominican Saints 

April 5 orphans and was the founder of some celebrated 
orphanages, which were placed under the care of 
Dominican Tertiaries. 

After his daily sermon, Saint Vincent, to satisfy the 
devotion of the people, was obliged to allow them to 
kiss his hand in token of reverence and to bring the 
sick that he might lay his hand upon them with prayer. 
An immense multitude, whose number is known only 
to God, were thus perfectly cured of every kind of 
disease. On more than one occasion he raised the 
dead to life and he may be considered the great 
Thaumaturgus of the Dominican Order. In the midst 
of these astonishing signs of the Divine power working 
through him, Saint Vincent's humility remained ever 
his most distinguishing virtue. To a Franciscan 
friend, who, in the midst of a public ovation, said to 
him, " Brother Vincent, how is pride now ? " the 
Saint replied with a smile, " It comes and it goes, 
Brother, but it never stays ; " and no one was ever 
more sincere in acknowledging himself an unprofitable 

Worn out with age and labour, Saint Vincent was 
attacked by his last illness at Vannes, in Brittany, and 
happily departed to our Lord on Wednesday, April 
5, A.D. 1419, at the age of seventy-three. He was 
canonized by Pope Callixtus III. in the year 1455. 


O God, who didst draw to the knowledge of Thy 
Name a multitude of the nations by the admirable 
preaching of Blessed Vincent, Thy Confessor, grant, 
we beseech Thee, that we may be found worthy to 
have Him as our Rewarder in heaven whom he 
announced on earth as the Judge to come, our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 85 


Blessed flntbonp Pavotie, IKartpr 

(A.D. 1326-1374) 

BLESSED ANTHONY was born about the year 1326 April 9 
of the noble Piedmontese family of the Pavoni. His 
father was at the head of a school of music; he also 
held some important municipal offices in the town 
of Savigliano. After a childhood of great promise, 
Anthony, at the age of fifteen, received the Dominican 
habit. His extraordinary learning, his eloquence, his 
practical talents for government, and, most of all, the 
sanctity of his life, caused him to be raised to impor- 
tant offices ; and, after the martyrdom of Blessed Peter 
Ruffia, he was appointed his successor as Inquisi- 
tor-General in Piedmont, Upper Lombardy, and the 
Genoese territory, then much infected by the Walden- 
sian heresy. Being made Prior of Savigliano in the 
year 1368, he undertook the rebuilding of his Con- 
vent on so noble a scale that Provincial Chapters, 
and even a General Chapter, were subsequently held 

The indefatigable labours of Blessed Anthony for 
the conversion of the heretics rendered him an object 
of hatred in their eyes, and they determined to rid 
themselves of so formidable an enemy. The holy man 
had long prayed that the grace of martyrdom might be 
vouchsafed to him, and God revealed to him the day 
and hour of his death. Transported with joy, he 
thenceforth had continually on his lips the words of 
the Psalmist, " I have rejoiced at the things that are 
said unto me; we will go into the house of the Lord." 
Regardless of the threats of the heretics, he persevered 

86 Dominican Saints 

April 9 with renewed zeal in his apostolic labours, patiently 
awaiting the accomplishment of the Divine will. 

On the eve of his death, he went, radiant with joy, 
to a barber of Bricherasio, in which town he was then 
preaching, and bade him shave him well, " for," said 
he, " I am invited to a wedding." " That cannot be/' 
replied the man ; ' ' all the news of the town comes to 
my shop, and if a wedding had been in preparation, 
I should certainly have heard of it." " Believe me," 
answered Blessed Anthony, " I am telling you the 

The following day, being Low Sunday, April 9, 
A.D. 13/4, after a night spent in prayer, the holy man 
for the last time offered the Holy Sacrifice and 
preached in refutation of the Waldensian errors. On 
leaving the church after his thanksgiving, he was 
attacked by seven armed men, who inflicted many 
wounds on him and finally hacked his body to pieces, 
in presence of the weeping multitude, who had not the 
courage to stop the brutal deed. The sacred remains 
were brought to the Convent at Savigliano and many 
miracles were worked at the Martyr's tomb. 

Like his namesake, the glorious Saint Anthony of 
Padua, Blessed Anthony Pavone, as the Lessons of his 
Office in the Dominican Breviary testify, is invoked by 
the faithful specially for the recovery of things lost. 
A gentleman of the name of Brian Taparelli, having 
mislaid a legal document, for lack of which he was 
exposed to the danger of imprisonment and almost 
total ruin, made a vow to the holy Martyr, promising 
to offer a candle of fifty pounds' weight at his tomb if 
he recovered the deed. The following night, Blessed 
Anthony appeared to him in his sleep and told him 
where he would find the missing document. 

In the year 1468, Blessed Aimo Taparelli, a kinsman 
of the gentleman just mentioned, having a great devo- 

Dominican Saints 87 

tion to Blessed Anthony, caused his holy relics to April 9 
be solemnly translated to a more worthy resting-place. 
Pius IX. raised both these holy men to the altars 
of the Church. 


O God, who, to promote the unity of the faith, didst 
endow Blessed Anthony, Thy Martyr, with invincible 
fortitude of soul, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may 
so follow in his footsteps as to attain the end of our 
faith, even the salvation of our souls. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed fltitbotip Reprot, Ittartpr 

(A.D. 1460) 

BLESSED ANTHONY NEYROT was a native of Rivoli, April xo 
in Piedmont, and took the habit of a Friar Preacher 
in the celebrated Convent of Saint Mark at Florence 
whilst Saint Antoninus was Prior, being the last who 
was there clothed and professed under his government. 
He was naturally of a weak and unstable character; 
and his vanity having been flattered by some success 
in the pulpit, he became desirous of displaying his 
powers elsewhere. In spite of the touching entrea- 
ties and prophetic warnings of Saint Antoninus, who 
threatened him with terrible misfortunes both for 
soul and body if he persisted in his purpose, he 
obtained permission from the Superiors of the Order 
to go to Sicily and afterwards to Naples. At that 
time the Mediterranean was much infested by pirates. 
Anthony fell into their hands and was carried captive 
to Tunis. As long as he was detained in prison, he 
conducted himself on the whole as a good religious, 

88 Dominican Saints 

April 10 though a Jeromite Father who used to visit him re- 
marked that he was somewhat deficient in patience 
and resignation. After a time, through the interven- 
tion of the Genoese Consul, Anthony was released 
from prison but was detained in Tunis until his entire 
ransom should be paid. During this interval he was 
exposed to violent temptations, to which he miserably 
yielded, publicly renouncing his faith in presence of 
the king and all his court. In reward for his apostasy 
he was restored to full liberty. The unhappy man 
then contracted a sacrilegious marriage and began to 
devote himself to the study of the Koran. But the 
detestable principles of the book, which he ceased not 
to contrast with the purity and sanctity of the Gospel, 
filled him with unspeakable disgust. During four 
months he remained thus plunged in the mire of sin. 
At the end of that time God was pleased to manifest 
His mercy in a marvellous manner by recalling the 
wanderer to the fold. 

It chanced one day that Anthony fell in with some 
merchants recently arrived from Italy, from whom he 
learned the news of the death of his former spiritual 
father, Saint Antoninus, and of the many miracles 
worked at his tomb. With bitter remorse he recalled 
to mind the advice and the warnings which he had so 
undutifully neglected, and with all his heart he im- 
plored the Saint to have pity on his misery. The holy 
Archbishop immediately appeared to him in vision, 
reproved him for his crimes, and exhorted him to 
repentance. " Father," exclaimed the poor apostate, 
"I have sinned against Heaven and before thee; I 
am not now worthy to be called thy son." With 
a look of ineffable love and compassion the Saint 
revived his courage and confidence, and from that 
moment Anthony became a true penitent. 

In order the better to repair the scandal he had 

Dominican Saints 89 

given, he resolved to make his abjuration as public as April 10 
his apostasy had been. He therefore awaited the day 
when the king was to make a solemn entrance into 
the city. During the intervening six months he pre- 
pared himself in secret by prayer and penance, and in 
particular by the fervent recitation of the Holy Rosary, 
for the combat which lay before him. 

At length, on Palm Sunday, A.D. 1460, he received 
the Sacraments of the Church, was once more clothed 
in the Dominican habit, renewed his religious tonsure, 
and made a brief sermon to the faithful, in which he 
expressed his detestation of his former errors and his 
firm belief in the doctrines of Christianity. Then, full 
of courage, he went forth to meet the king, openly 
professed himself a follower of Christ, and expressed 
his grief for his miserable apostasy and his present 
readiness to give his life for the faith. The tyrant at 
first endeavoured to win him back to Mahometanism 
by honeyed words and promises, but these proved of 
no avail. On the contrary, the confessor of Christ 
began boldly to preach the faith and to exhort his 
hearers to embrace it. Enraged at his constancy, the 
king ordered that he should be cast into prison. On 
the way thither, his conductors vied with one another 
in loading him with insults and cruel torments, in the 
midst of which he ceased not to call on the name of 
Jesus. The Christians in Tunis, on hearing of his im- 
prisonment, hastened to send him food and clothing; 
but he distributed it all to the poor, contenting him- 
self with bread and water for his own nourishment. 

On Maundy Thursday he was brought out to judg- 
ment. Every effort was made to overcome his con- 
stancy by promises, threats, and torments ; but the 
more he was ill-treated, so much the more fervently 
did he pray and forgive his tormentors from his heart. 
At length sentence was passed and he was led out 

90 Dominican Saints 

April 10 to execution. After kneeling for a few moments in 
fervent prayer, he stood erect, and, as it were, ravished 
in God. Motionless, though unfettered, and without 
uttering a groan or a cry, he bore the sword strokes 
and the showers of stones aimed against him, until at 
length he fell to the ground and yielded up his soul 
to God. The barbarous executioners endeavoured to 
burn the Martyr's body, but it remained unscathed in 
the midst of the flames. They then threw it into a 
sewer, whence it was rescued by the Genoese, and 
when washed was found to exhale a sweet perfume. 
Many miracles were worked by Blessed Anthony's 
intercession and his sacred remains were removed in 
the year 1469 to his native town of Rivoli, where he 
is still held in great veneration. He was beatified by 
Pope Clement XIII. 


O God, who didst mercifully bring back Blessed 
Anthony to the light of Thy holy truth, making him a 
glorious martyr of the same, grant, through his inter- 
cession, that we may ever be steadfast in faith and 
effectual in the performance of good works. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Margaret of Casteiio, Virgin 

(A.D. 1287-1320) 

April 13 BLESSED MARGARET was born at Metola, on the 
borders of Tuscany and Umbria, in A.D. 1287. Her 
parents were of noble family but had been reduced to 
extreme poverty by political disasters. To their great 
grief, their child was born blind ; and, as no medical 

Dominican Saints 91 

skill availed to give her sight, they took her, when still April 13 
quite young, to the tomb of a holy Franciscan lay- 
brother, Jacopo by name, who was buried at Tiferno, 
now called Citta-di-Castello, and who was renowned 
for many miracles. But God, who had sent this blind- 
ness for the spiritual perfection and enlightenment 
of His servant, was not pleased to grant their request ; 
and the unnatural parents, finding themselves disap- 
pointed, abandoned the child, whom they regarded as a 
burden, under the portico of the church and returned 
home without her. 

The little one, feeling herself thus cast away, had 
recourse to the God whom she had constantly and 
lovingly served ever since she had attained the use 
of reason. She lived an object of charity for some 
time. Kind-hearted persons would take her in for a 
night or two and then pass her on to a neighbour. 
Wherever she went, she left such a conviction of her 
holiness and of the great interior gifts which adorned 
her soul, that soon every one was full of the saintliness 
of the little blind girl of Metola. These reports reach- 
ing the Convent of Saint Margaret, the nuns offered 
her an asylum. But her trials were not yet ended. 
Her benefactresses, religious only in name, finding the 
prayers, austerities, and heavenly virtues of their new 
guest a silent but constant reproach to their own 
worldly and self-indulgent habits, loaded her with 
abuse and ill-treatment, called her a hypocrite and 
other evil names, and at length drove her from their 

An honest and virtuous couple, who knew her 
history and pitied her situation, took her into their 
house, where she lived as one of the family to the day 
of her death. Whilst with these new parents, she 
became a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. 
Though blind, she knew by heart the entire Psalter, 

9 2 Dominican Saints 

April 13 which, in addition to the daily recitation of the Office 
of the Blessed Virgin and of the Cross, was her 
habitual prayer. She used to explain the mysteries 
contained in the Psalms and to develop the hidden 
sense of their inspired words in a marvellous manner ; 
and, though never taught at any human school, she 
possessed a perfect and infused knowledge of Latin 
and of other branches of knowledge, so that, when 
the children of the house came back from school, she 
would hear their lessons and correct their exercises. 

Blessed Margaret devoted many hours of the day 
and great part of the night to prayer and contempla- 
tion. It pleased God to subject her to severe interior 
sufferings, strong natural repugnances, and aridity of 
soul, and the devil was permitted to assault her with 
violent and grievous temptations; but at each fresh 
trial she made it her one endeavour to bring her will 
into perfect conformity to the will of God, and by her 
disinterestedness in the Divine service merited that 
her life should become an almost continual ecstasy. 
If she set herself to pray or heard any discourse 
on spiritual subjects, she almost invariably fell into 
rapture, and was often seen suspended in the air, 
without support, for many hours together. She had 
not only learnt patience in the school of suffering, but 
also a great compassion for others. Yet, with this 
sweetness and gentle charity for all who needed it, 
she combined severe austerity towards her own inno- 
cent flesh, which was only discovered when, after 
her death, her body was found all torn and mangled 
by instruments of penance. Poor and afflicted as she 
was, she had no other means of testifying her gratitude 
towards her benefactors than by her prayers; and 
three times our Lord rewarded these with miraculous 
answers on their behalf. 

At length she happily departed to her Heavenly 

Dominican Saints 93 

Spouse, on April 13, A.D. 1320, fortified by the Holy April 13 
Sacraments of the Church, being in the thirty-third year 
of her age. She was buried with great honour in the 
Dominican church, where a multitude of miracles bore 
witness to the sanctity of this humble and afflicted 
servant of God. A few days after her funeral, the 
Friars called to mind that she had often been accus- 
tomed to say, " Oh, if you did but know what I have 
in my heart ! " With the permission of the ecclesi- 
astical authorities, therefore, they subjected the heart, 
which had been extracted from the body before the 
interment, to a medical examination. At the first in- 
cison there issued from it three shining and polished 
balls, resembling three pearls artistically carved. On 
one of them was represented a majestic queen, ap- 
parently the Holy Mother of God, to whom Blessed 
Margaret had been specially devoted ; the second bore 
the effigy of the infant Jesus lying in the manger 
between the ox and the ass ; on the third were to be 
seen a venerable old man, supposed to be Saint 
Joseph, a Dominican Tertiary, and a dove. 

Blessed Margaret's body remains even to our own 
times in a state of perfect preservation, and she is 
held in great honour in her own country. She was 
beatified by Paul V. 


O God, who wast pleased that Thy Holy Virgin, 
the Blessed Margaret, should be born blind, so that 
the eye of her heart being enlightened, she might 
continually contemplate Thee alone, be Thou the 
light of our eyes, that we may have no part in the 
darkness of this world, but be enabled to reach the 
land of eternal brightness. Through Christ our Lord. 

94 Dominican Saints 


Blessed Peter Gonzalez, cotntnonip called Saint 
Celine, Confessor, Patron of Sailors 

(A.D. 1180-1246) 

April 14 BLESSED PETER GONZALEZ was born at Fromista in 
Spain, of noble and opulent parents, A.D. 1180, and 
pursued his studies in the University of Palencia, 
then recently sanctified by the presence of Saint 
Dominic. He embraced the ecclesiastical state and 
was early raised to the dignity of Provost of the 
Chapter of Palencia, of which see his uncle was then 
Bishop. In spite of the holiness of his calling, Peter's 
early life was spent in worldliness and dissipation; 
an apparently trifling accident determined his vocation 
to the religious state. One Christmas Day, as he 
was riding through the streets magnificently apparelled 
and escorted by a brilliant retinue, he was thrown 
from his horse into a heap of filth. This disgrace, 
as he seems to have felt it, disgusted him with the 
world ; he immediately resigned his rich benefices, 
and asked and obtained the Dominican habit. The 
grace of God had transformed him into a new 
man ; and his learning, zeal, and sanctity soon fitted 
him for the labours of the apostolate, which he exer- 
cised during the remainder of his life, preaching with 
wonderful success in various parts of Spain. His 
fame as a confessor was very great ; he was always 
ready to receive penitents and possessed in an extra- 
ordinary degree the gift of moving them to contrition 
and amendment. 

Ferdinand III., the saintly King of Castile, who 
was about to undertake the expulsion of the Moors 

Dominican Saints 95 

from his dominions, entreated Blessed Peter to ac- April 14 
company him, in order to restrain the vices of the 
soldiers. The holy man exercised over the army an 
extraordinary influence for good, so that the Moors 
were filled with a strange feeling of terror when they 
beheld him passing from rank to rank ; whilst the 
constancy and heroism which he displayed in the 
midst of the temptations and snares with which wicked 
men continually sought to compass his ruin, spread 
the fame of his sanctity far and wide. The miracles 
worked by this holy servant of God were very 
numerous. At his suggestion and under his super- 
intendence, a splendid bridge was built across the 
Minho at a spot where the crossing of the river was 
specially dangerous. Provisions failed the workmen, 
whereupon Blessed Peter went to the river-bank, and 
the fish presented themselves of their own accord 
and suffered him and his companions to catch as 
many as they wanted, after which he dismissed the 
remainder with his blessing. When he was one day 
preaching to a great multitude at Bayona, close to 
another bridge which was in course of erection in 
consequence of his industry and exertions, a terrific 
thunderstorm came on and his listeners prepared 
to disperse. " Fear not," exclaimed the Saint; "He 
whom the winds and sea and earth obey will not 
allow the storm to harm you." So saying, he stretched 
forth his arm and commanded the clouds to separate. 
The sky immediately above his audience instantly 
became clear and the holy man continued his sermon, 
whilst torrents of rain descended on either side at 
a distance of only a few paces. On another occasion, 
some sailors in danger of shipwreck called upon him 
for help and forthwith he appeared in their midst 
and calmed the tempest. This last-mentioned miracle, 
which happened whilst the Saint was still alive, has 

96 Dominican Saints 

April 14 been oftentimes repeated since his death ; in con- 
sequence of which he is universally invoked by the 
seafaring populations of Catholic Europe and America, 
usually under the name of Saint Telmo, and many 
petitions have been presented to the Holy See that 
the title of Patron of Sailors may be officially granted 
to him. 

Blessed Peter died and was buried at Tuy, where he 
had been preaching the Holy Week, A.D. 1246. In- 
numerable miracles have been worked at his tomb, 
whence a miraculous oil sometimes flows. He is the 
object of great veneration in Southern Europe, and 
was beatified by Benedict XIV. 


O God, who affordest singular help through 
Blessed Peter to such as are in the dangers of the sea, 
grant, through his intercession, that in all the storms 
of this life the light of Thy grace may ever shine upon 
us, whereby we may be able to gain the port of 
eternal salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Clara Gambacorti, Widow 

(A.D. 1362-1419) 

April 17 THORA GAMBACORTI was born of noble parents, A.D. 
1362. When she was seven years old, her father, 
Peter Gambacorti, became Governor of Pisa, and, with 
a view to strengthening his power, betrothed her to a 
noble youth, by name Simon di Massa. But the little 
girl had already given her whole heart to a Heavenly 
Spouse, and whenever she prayed before a crucifix or 
saw the priest elevate the Sacred Host, she would 

Dominican Saints 97 

take the betrothal ring from her finger, saying, " My April 
God ! I will have no other Spouse than Thyself." She 
was, however, forced to submit to the nuptials, though 
she never saw her husband after her betrothal, as he 
went to serve in foreign wars, and died A.D. 1377, 
without returning to Pisa. She thus found herself 
delivered from ties in which she had been engaged 
against her will. Her parents lost no time in pro- 
posing a second marriage; but, encouraged by the 
letters of Saint Catharine of Siena, with whom she had 
contracted an intimate friendship on occasion of the 
Saint's visit to Pisa two years previously, Thora 
answered them by cutting off her beautiful hair and 
giving all she possessed to the poor. Then, laying 
aside her rich garments, she clothed herself in a rough 
penitential garb, and at length found means of enter- 
ing the Convent of the Poor Clares, where she ex- 
changed her baptismal name of Thora for that of Clara. 
She was not, however, permitted to remain long in her 
new retreat ; her brother, at the head of an armed 
force, dragged her from it and brought her home, 
where she was confined for five months in the closest 
imprisonment. She was often kept without food for 
days together and was not even allowed to hear Mass, 
until at length, on the Feast of Saint Dominic, her 
sister-in-law took her to the Dominican church; and 
on her return God was pleased to reveal to her in 
prayer that He had called her to serve Him, not in the 
Franciscan, but in the Dominican Order. 

She finally overcame the resistance of her family by 
her patience and entered the Dominican Convent of 
the Holy Cross, outside the city. Though a good 
spirit reigned in the house, yet poverty was not strictly 
observed. Only seven of the Community, including 
Clara, lived without possessing anything of their own. 
One of these was, like herself, a disciple of Saint 


9 8 Dominican Saints 

April 17 Catharine, a widow, and afterwards to be raised to 
the altars of the church, Blessed Maria Mancini. 
After four years, Blessed Clara and Blessed Maria, 
with three companions, removed to a Convent dedi- 
cated to Saint Dominic, built for them by Peter 
Gambacorti, where strict religious observance was 
established. Of this Convent Clara was soon elected 
Prioress, and from it went forth those who reformed 
the communities of Genoa, Parma, and Venice. More- 
over, by her prayers and counsels she greatly pro- 
moted the cause of reform even among the Friars 
themselves, so that the Dominican Order with reason 
regards Blessed Clara as another Saint Teresa. 

The holy and austere life led by her and her com- 
panions obtained for their house the reputation of 
being inhabited, not by women, but by angels ; and 
Our Lord was pleased to reward it by a miraculous 
token of His favour. One day a pious nobleman of 
Siena, by name Count Galeazzo, whilst praying before 
a crucifix which hung on the walls of a half-ruined 
church in that city, heard a voice proceeding from the 
sacred image, saying, " Carry me to the Convent of 
Saint Dominic at Pisa ; there I shall be treated with 
devotion." The Count obeyed ; and, as he approached 
the Convent, Blessed Clara was supernatu rally warned 
to go to the enclosure door to meet her Spouse, who 
was coming to dwell with her. She received the 
sacred deposit with the utmost devotion and caused it 
to be placed over the high altar. 

Though her Community was strictly enclosed, 
Blessed Clara found means to extend her influence 
far beyond the limits of her Convent walls. The poor 
were never suffered to leave her door unrelieved ; she, 
moreover employed a number of out-Sisters who 
visited the hospitals and prisons, acting entirely under 
her direction, and she renounced in favour of an insti- 

Dominican Saints 99 

tution for foundlings a considerable property which April 17 
had been bequeathed to her. Like her friend, Saint 
Catharine, she was regarded in the light of their 
spiritual mother by many of the Friars of her Order, as 
well as by a number of persons living in the world 
whom she guided and encouraged in the path of perfec- 
tion by her wise counsels and letters. Her charity 
specially manifested itself in sublime acts of forgive- 
ness. A conspiracy was formed against her father, 
at the head of which was one whom he had treated 
as his bosom friend, a factious nobleman, named James 
Appiano. In the tumult which ensued the greater 
number of the Gambacorti family were cruelly assassi- 
nated. One of Blessed Clara's brothers fled to her for 
protection, but not even to save his life did she feel 
herself justified in breaking the law of enclosure and 
risking the entrance of the mob into the Convent ; and 
he was slain at the door. In the severe illness which 
was the result of this heroic act, she placed herself 
with touching humility and delicacy under a trifling 
obligation to the Appiani family, in token of forgive- 
ness ; and when, by a just retribution, they in their 
turn were hurled from power and the head of the 
house met the death which his treachery had deserved, 
she sent for his widow and daughters and gave them 
a safe asylum within her Convent walls. 

Blessed Clara died A.D. 1419, at the age of fifty- 
seven. When the Sisters, according to the custom of 
the Order, were reciting the Psalter by her bier, they 
found themselves mysteriously forced to substitute the 
Gloria Patri for the Requiem ceternam at the end of 
each Psalm, in spite of their endeavours to conform to 
the rubric. Many miracles and signal graces have 
been obtained through the intercession of Blessed 
Clara, and she was beatified by Pius VIII. 

ioo Dominican Saints 


April 17 Grant us, O merciful God, the spirit of prayer and 
penance, that, following in the footsteps of Blessed 
Clara, we may be worthy to gain the crown which she 
hath received in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. 


Saint Agnes or Iftonte Pulciano, Virgin 

(A.D. 1268-1317) 

April 20 SAINT AGNES was born of virtuous parents in the 
neighbourhood of Monte Pulciano, in Tuscany, about 
the year 1268. Extraordinary signs and a piety far 
beyond her years presaged what this child was one day 
to become. Whilst still very young, she succeeded 
in extorting from her parents permission to enter an 
exceedingly austere Monastery. After a few years 
she was sent to assist in the foundation of another 
Monastery for the education of young girls at Procena, 
of which she became Abbess, in virtue of a special 
dispensation from the Holy See, when only fifteen. 
She led a life of continual prayer and rigid penance ; 
and God vouchsafed to show how pleasing she was in 
His sight by many signs and wonders. Flowers of 
exquisite fragrance and beauty would spring up on the 
spot where she had prayed ; showers of manna, in the 
shape of little white crosses, would fall upon her 
in the presence of a crowd of witnesses; she was 
favoured by frequent visions, and ten times received 
Holy Communion from an angel's hand. So great 
was the poverty of her Monastery that money and pro- 
visions often failed ; in these circumstances the wants 
of the Community were sometimes supplied by miracle. 

Dominican Saints 101 

After seventeen years spent at Procena, the inhabi- April 20 
tants of Monte Pulciano entreated Saint Agnes to come 
and found a Convent within their walls. She had 
recourse to prayer in order to ascertain the will of 
God, and, as she prayed, a wonderful vision was 
granted her. She seemed to herself to be standing on 
the sea-shore, and three large and splendidly equipped 
boats floated on the waters before her. In one of 
these stood Saint Augustine, Saint Francis was in 
another, whilst on the prow of the third she beheld 
Saint Dominic. Each of the three Saints pressingly 
invited her to his boat, specially Saint Francis, who 
alleged the resemblance of the habit she then wore 
with that of his daughters, the Poor Clares. After a 
long dispute, Saint Dominic said to his two com- 
panions, " It will not be as you desire ; the Lord has 
disposed that Agnes should embark on my boat." So 
saying, he drew her on board, and immediately a 
heavenly messenger stood beside the Saint and made 
known to her that she was to establish a Community 
of virgins, as desired, at Monte Pulciano, on a hill 
which had hitherto been the resort of women of evil 
life, and that her daughters were to take the habit and 
follow the rule of Saint Dominic. 

This was accordingly done, and the Saint governed 
the new Community with the same wisdom and sweet- 
ness with which she had formerly ruled at Procena, 
and was favoured with the like demonstrations of 
God's watchful providence. Whilst still at Procena, 
Our Lady one day appeared to her and placed the 
Divine Infant in her arms. Before restoring Him to 
His Mother, the Saint had possessed herself of a little 
cross which was suspended from His neck by a slender 
thread. This treasure she had left behind her on 
coming to Monte Pulciano, and she now wrote to claim 
it. The Community at Procena, who were in great 

102 Dominican Saints 

April 20 grief at losing their holy Abbess, absolutely refused to 
give up the cross; whereupon the Saint betook herself 
to prayer, and it was immediately brought to her by 
an angel. 

When the end of her earthly pilgrimage drew near, 
Saint Agnes was granted a Divine warning of the suffer- 
ings which awaited her as a final purification before 
receiving her crown. One Sunday at break of day, as 
she was allowing herself a little rest after prayer, it 
seemed to her that an angel took her by the hand, and 
leading her under an olive-tree, as though to remind 
her of our Lord's agony in Gethsemane, presented her 
with a chalice containing an exceedingly bitter draught. 
" Drink this chalice, Spouse of Christ," said the angelic 
visitant; "the Lord Jesus drank it for thee." The 
servant of God eagerly obeyed for the love of her 
Divine Bridegroom; but, before she had drained the 
cup, the vision disappeared and she found herself 
once more in her cell. This vision was repeated on 
nine consecutive Sundays and shortly afterwards the 
Saint was attacked by the long and painful illness 
which brought her to the grave. 

In compliance with the wishes of her Sisters, she 
sought relief by paying a long visit to some medicinal 
springs at a short distance from the Convent. Here 
our Lord was pleased to honour His faithful Spouse 
by many prodigies. A miraculous hot water spring 
gushed forth which afterwards bore her name and was 
found far more health-giving than any of the former 
springs. Finding she derived no benefit from the 
baths, the Saint returned to her Convent, which she 
had been very unwilling to quit. As she lay stretched 
on her bed of suffering, her spiritual children knelt 
around her, weeping over their approaching loss. " If 
you loved me," she said to them with a sweet smile, 
" you would rejoice, because I am about to enter into 

Dominican Saints 103 

the joy of my Spouse. Be not afflicted beyond April 20 
measure at my departure hence ; from heaven I shall 
not lose sight of you ; I shall be your mother, your 
companion, and your sister whenever you call upon 
me in your wants." Her last words were, "I go to 
Him who is my only hope." Her holy and happy 
death, which was followed by many wonders, took 
place on the 2Oth of April, A.D. 1317. Her Life was 
written by Blessed Raymund of Capua, who became 
Confessor to the Community some fifty years after her 
death. Readers of the Life of Saint Catharine of Siena 
will be familiar with the wonders which accompanied 
the visit of that Saint to the tomb of Saint Agnes, and 
with the revelation made to her that they two were 
to enjoy a like glory in heaven. Saint Agnes was 
canonized by Benedict XIII., A.D. 1726. 


O God, who wast ofttimes pleased to shed a heavenly 
dew over Thy Holy Virgin, Blessed Agnes, and to deck 
the places of her prayer with divers fresh-blown 
flowers, mercifully grant that we, through her prayers, 
may be sprinkled with the unfailing dew of Thy bless- 
ing, and made fit to receive the fruits of immortality. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Bartholomew of Ceroerio, martyr 

(A.D. 1420-1466) 

IN the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Piedmont and April 21 
other provinces of Northern Italy were overrun by 
heretics. The Order of Saint Dominic, true to its 
earliest traditions, sent forth a multitude of apostolic 

104 Dominican Saints 

April 21 men to combat error and guard the faith in the infected 
regions, and many of them sealed their labours with 
their blood. The Convent of Savigliano alone pro- 
duced four Inquisitors of the faith, namely, Blessed 
Peter Ruffia, Blessed Anthony Pavonio, Blessed Aimo 
Taparelli, and Blessed Bartholomew of Cerverio, who 
have all been raised to the altars of the Church, and 
three of whom received the martyr's crown. 

Blessed Bartholomew, whose story we have now to 
tell, was born of noble parents at Savigliano about the 
year 1420, and at an early age entered the Dominican 
Order in the Convent of his native town. He was 
gifted with great talents and devoted himself with 
ardour to the pursuit of learning and sanctity. After 
having attained his Doctor's degree and taught in the 
University of Turin, he was elected Prior, an office 
which he held more than once, and in which he dis- 
played considerable talent for business, as well as great 
zeal for the Divine worship. 

Being made Inquisitor of the faith, he discharged 
the delicate and difficult duties of that office with the 
utmost prudence, patience, and intrepidity, to the great 
satisfaction of the faithful and the despair of the 
heretics. He knew that his life was in danger and 
kept himself in readiness for death. One day, having 
to go to Cerverio on business connected with his office, 
he prepared himself by making his confession, as 
though it were to be the last of his life, and said 
before his departure, "I am called Bartholomew of 
Cerverio and nevertheless I have never set foot in 
Cerverio. I am going thither to-day in quality of 
Inquisitor, and it is there I am to die." When he was 
within half-a-mile of his destination, five heretics, who 
had been lying in ambush, rushed upon him and his 
companions. The latter succeeded in effecting their 
escape, but Blessed Bartholomew made no attempt to 

Dominican Saints 105 

defend himself and fell pierced with wounds. This April 21 
martyrdom took place on April 21, 1466. 

That same day, at sunset, the inhabitants of 
Savigliano beheld a brilliant meteor, resembling the 
sun, rising in the direction of Cerverio, its rays con- 
verging on the spot where the martyr had fallen. A 
tree sprang up shortly afterwards on this same spot, 
the leaves and branches of which were impressed with 
a cross. The sacred remains of Blessed Bartholomew 
were carried to the church at Cerverio, to await the 
arrival of the Friars from Savigliano. As the Brethren 
crossed the threshold, the holy body, which hitherto 
had not shed a drop of blood, began to pour it forth in 
abundance. The remains were removed to Savigliano, 
where they were honoured by many miracles. On the 
suppression of that Convent in the troublous times 
which followed the French Revolution, the inhabitants 
of Cerverio obtained leave for the removal of the pre- 
cious relics to their parish church, where they still 

Blessed Bartholomew is specially invoked against 
thunder and lightning and hail. He was beatified by 
Pius IX. 


O God, who didst make Blessed Bartholomew a 
glorious champion of the faith and didst raise him 
to the crown of martyrdom, grant, through his merits 
and intercession, that we may ever bear the cross 
and deserve to be partakers with him in Thy glory. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

106 Dominican Saints 


Blessed Dominic and Gregorp, Confessors 

(I3th Century) 

April 26 BLESSED DOMINIC and GREGORY lived in the first 
century of the existence of the Order and belonged to 
one of the Convents of Castile. Inflamed with zeal for 
the conversion of souls, they extended their missionary 
labours into the neighbouring kingdom of Aragon. 
Here these true sons of Saint Dominic, following the 
example of their Holy Patriarch, travelled on foot from 
village to village, begging their daily bread, preaching 
to the poor country folks, and shedding around them 
in all directions the odour of their virtues. It chanced 
one day, as they were journeying through a mountain- 
ous district on the outskirts of the Pyrenees, in the 
diocese of Barbastro, that they were overtaken by a 
terrific storm. There was no human habitation within 
sight, so the two holy Friars took shelter beneath an 
overhanging rock, which fell and crushed them beneath 
its weight. The bells of the neighbouring parishes 
rang out, untouched by any mortal hand ; and this 
marvel, together with a miraculous light which appeared 
over the scene of the accident, brought the people in 
crowds to the spot. The broken rocks were removed, 
and beneath them, crushed and disfigured, but exhaling 
a heavenly perfume, were found the bodies of the two 
holy missionaries, locked in a fraternal embrace. 

The inhabitants of four different parishes disputed 
with each other the possession of the sacred remains. 
It was at length agreed that the bodies should be 
placed on, a mule, and that the parish in the direction 
of which the animal turned its steps should have the 

Dominican Saints 107 

treasure. The mule took the road leading to Besians ; April 26 
and the two holy men were accordingly buried in the 
church of that place, where they have always been 
held in the greatest honour. On the Rogation Days 
and in times of public calamity, their relics are solemnly 
carried in procession, and when a storm rises are 
exposed in the porch of the church. When the land 
is parched by drought, recourse is had to their inter- 
cession. They were beatified by Pius IX. 


O God, of whose mercy there is no end, we humbly 
beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Blessed 
Dominic and Gregory, Thy Confessors, we may be re- 
leased from the burden of our sins and may attain to 
the glory granted to them. Through Christ our Lord. 


Saint Peter, martpr 

(A.D. 1203-1252) 

SAINT PETER was born in the year 1203 at Verona, of April 29 
parents imbued with those heretical doctrines which 
were at that time being so widely disseminated in Nor- 
thern Italy by the Waldenses, Cathari, and other re- 
vivors of the errors of the Manichees. When only seven 
years old, little Peter began vigorously to oppose their 
dangerous teaching. His uncle one day asked him 
what he learnt at school. "I learn the Creed," re- 
plied the boy vehemently, " the Creed, which says that 
God made heaven and earth" (a doctrine expressly 
denied by the heretics). This bold spirit and strong 
allegiance to the faith grew with his years. He re- 
ceived the habit of a Friar Preacher from the hands of 

io8 Dominican Saints 

April 29 Saint Dominic himself, who clearly foresaw the future 
greatness of his young disciple. 

As soon as he had been ordained priest, he entered 
on a course of apostolic labours for the overthrow of 
the heresies which from childhood he had abhorred. 
He preached throughout all the Northern States of 
Italy, specially at Milan, where the fruits of his apos- 
tolate were prodigious. His sermons were accom- 
panied by miraculous signs of every description. He 
cast out devils, restored health to the sick, and foretold 
many future events. One day, as he was preaching 
to a vast audience at Milan, the burning rays of the 
sun caused great inconvenience to himself and his 
hearers. One of the heretics present said to him, " If 
the faith you defend be true, why do you not ask of 
God to send a cloud to shelter us from the heat ? " 
" With all my heart," replied the Saint, " if you and 
your companions will promise to renounce your errors, 
should the sign you ask for be granted." Then the 
Catholics murmured greatly, for it seemed to them that 
Peter was risking the faith on an impossible chance. 
But, even as they spoke, a cloud appeared in the 
hitherto cloudless sky and hung over their heads like 
a canopy for the space of more than an hour ; and his 
opponents withdrew, covered with confusion. 

Saint Peter had a wonderful familiarity with the 
Angels and Saints, and was often seen surrounded 
by them. On one occasion the presence of these 
celestial visitants in his cell led to his being accused 
of admitting females within the enclosure, to the great 
scandal of the house. The Saint said not a word in 
his own justification, but humbly accepted the severe 
penance imposed on him. Nevertheless he could not 
but be sensible to the loss of reputation which threat- 
ened to put an end to his harvest of souls ; and, com- 
plaining of it sweetly to our Lord in prayer, a voice 

Dominican Saints 109 

spoke to him from the crucifix, saying, " And I, Peter, April 29 
what had I done?" Then the Saint accepted his 
cross with renewed humility and fervour, and bore it 
generously, until it pleased God to make known the 
truth and his good name was once more restored. 

He took an active and intelligent part in the affairs 
of his Order and governed in turn some important 
Convents. In obedience to a command received from 
our Blessed Lady herself, he greatly assisted in the 
establishment of the Order of the Servites, whose 
seven holy founders had been shown to him in vision 
under the figure of seven fragrant lilies of dazzling 
beauty growing on a mountain-top. 

His success in the office of Inquisitor was so great 
that the heretics saw themselves reduced to the last 
extremity. Wherever he appeared, there was a uni- 
versal renunciation of the errors which it had cost 
them so much labour to disseminate. Hence their 
rage against him knew no bounds, and they leagued 
together for his destruction. Every day at the Eleva- 
tion in the Mass, it had been the Saint's custom to 
ask of God the grace to shed his blood for the faith ; 
and he told a companion in confidence that he was 
never granted such interior sweetness and consolation 
as in the moment of making that daily request. It 
was granted to him on Saturday in Easter Week, 
A.D. 1252, when the heretic assassins waylaid him on 
the road between Como and Milan. The Saint, to 
whom his approaching death had been revealed, sang, 
as he journeyed along, the Sequence, " Victimcs Pas- 
chali" with the companion who was to share his 
martyrdom. Struck to the ground by a blow on the 
head and mortally wounded, he retained sufficient con- 
sciousness to exclaim, " Lord, into Thy hands I com- 
mend my spirit." Then, dipping his finger in his 
blood, he wrote on the ground the words he had so 

no Dominican Saints 

April 29 proudly quoted to his uncle as a boy : Credo in Demn 
Patrem omnipotentem. The enraged assassins struck 
him a second time and he expired. His body was 
brought to Milan with great pomp, the Archbishop 
and people going out in procession to meet it. The 
miracles wrought at his tomb were the means of re- 
claiming a vast number of heretics, so that Saint Peter 
had the happiness of working for the salvation of souls 
after his death as successfully as in life. The most 
touching of these conversions was that of his murderer, 
Carino. The unhappy man, though captured on the 
scene of his crime, succeeded in making his escape. 
Falling sick at Forli, he was taken to a hospital ad- 
joining the Dominican Convent, and, believing himself 
dying, made his confession with every token of re- 
pentance to one of the Fathers. He did not die, how- 
ever, and on his restoration to health craved admission 
among the Brethren of the Saint whom he had slain. 
With extraordinary charity they received him among 
them, and lie continued for forty years to lead a life 
of true penance, and finally died in the odour of 

Saint Peter was canonized by Pope Innocent IV. in 
the piazza outside the Dominican Church at Perugia, 
less than a year after his martyrdom. 


Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we 
may imitate with due devotion the faith of Blessed 
Peter, Thy Martyr, who, for the extension of that 
same faith, was made worthy to obtain the palm of 
martyrdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints ITI 


Saint Catharine or Siena, Virgin 

(A.D. 1347-1380) 

SAINT CATHARINE was born at Siena in Tuscany, April 30 
A.D. 1347. Her father, James Benincasa, was a dyer 
of that city and she was the youngest of his numerous 
family. Whilst still a little child she attempted to 
retire into solitude, in imitation of the Fathers of the 
Desert, and at the age of seven she consecrated her- 
self to God by a vow of virginity. When she grew 
older her parents endeavoured to persuade her to 
marry and the Saint had to undergo much domestic 
persecution on this account, all which she bore with 
invincible patience and constancy. At length her 
father became convinced that her resolution was from 
God, and gave orders that she should no longer be 
opposed in her pious designs. She spent some years 
in a life of strict retirement and at the age of about 
seventeen took the habit of the Third Order of Saint 
Dominic, being, it is said, the first unmarried woman 
who had ever been received into that Sisterhood. She 
continued, however, as before, to live in her father's 
house, devoting herself to exercises of prayer and the 
practice of severe austerities. It was the Divine will 
that she should be tried by grievous temptations, over 
which her humility and unshaken confidence in God 
enabled her to be always victorious. She was mira- 
culously taught to read and write and Our Lord 
deigned often to recite the Office with her in her little 

On the last day of the Carnival, A.D. 1367, she was 
visibly espoused to our Divine Lord, and some years 

ii2 Dominican Saints 

April 30 later He vouchsafed to her the mysterious favour of 
the exchange of hearts and the impression of the 
sacred Stigmata. After her espousals she began to 
come forth from her retirement and to take part in the 
household duties. Our Lord had taught her to seek 
and find Him in His two chosen dwelling-places the 
Sacrament of His love and the person of His poor. 
She was accustomed to approach the Holy Table very 
often, at a time when frequent Communion was by no 
means common; her influence and example are said 
to have largely contributed to the revival of this salu- 
tary practice. In accordance with her own maxim, 
that "the love we conceive towards God we must 
bring forth in acts of charity towards our neighbour," 
she began to practise the most heroic services of 
charity. Her self-devotion was on more than one 
occasion repaid only by the blackest calumny and in- 
gratitude ; but her sweetness and patience triumphed, 
and her persevering prayer won back her persecutors 
to God. Marvellous conversions were granted in 
answer to her fervent supplications and she had an 
extraordinary power over the evil spirits, whom she 
often drove from the bodies of the possessed. 

The sphere of her influence gradually widened as 
her sanctity made itself more and more apparent. 
She was called upon to heal the terrible feuds which 
were the bane of Italy in the Middle Ages, to urge on 
the undertaking of a fresh Crusade against the infidels, 
and to become the counsellor of Popes, Cardinals, and 
Princes. The Florentines had revolted against the 
Holy See, and, fearing the consequences of their re- 
bellion, they entreated the holy maiden of Siena to 
plead their cause with the Sovereign Pontiff. For 
this end she visited Avignon, where the Papal Court 
then resided, and whilst there succeeded in persuading 
Gregory XI. to return to Rome. The Saint went 

Dominican Saints 113 

back to Florence as ambassador from the Pope, and April 30 
after much trouble and persecution succeeded in effect- 
ing a reconciliation between that city and the Apostolic 
See. She dictated some sublime treatises whilst in a 
state of ecstasy, and they were afterwards published 
under the title of the "Dialogue." A great number 
of her letters to persons of all classes and conditions 
have also been preserved ; they are full of the most 
beautiful and practical instructions in the spiritual 

Saint Catharine greatly exerted herself to maintain 
the authority of the Holy See during the unhappy 
schism which followed on the death of Gregory XL 
His successor, Urban VI., summoned her to Rome 
towards the close of the year 1378 that he might be 
assisted by her wise counsels. The remaining seven- 
teen months of her earthly pilgrimage were spent in 
the Eternal City. There she prayed, and suffered, and 
finally offered her life as a victim for the Church and 
its visible Head, " the Christ on earth," as she loved 
to call him. The sacrifice was accepted; and after 
many weeks of agonising suffering, both of body and 
soul heroically endured, she departed to her Spouse 
on Sunday, April 29, A.D. 1380. She was canonized 
in the year 1461 by Pius II., himself a native of Siena, 
who wrote her Office with his own hand. 

We cannot better conclude this brief notice than by 
quoting two of Saint Catharine's favourite maxims 
which were taught her by our Lord in these words : 
" Thou must not love Me, or thy neighbour, or thyself, 
for thyself; but thou must love all for Me alone ; " 
and again, " Make in thy soul as it were a little spiri- 
tual cell, closed in with the material of My Will . . . 
which must so encompass every faculty of thy body 
and soul that thou shalt never speak of anything but 
what thou deemest pleasing to Me, nor think nor do 


ii4 Dominican Saints 

April 30 anything but what thou believest to be agreeable to 

(See Feast of Translation, p. 56.) 

MAY 5 

Saint Pius V+, Pope and Confessor 

(A.D. 1504-1572) 

May 5 SAINT PlUS was born of the noble but fallen family 
of the Ghislieri, A.D. 1504, at the little village of 
Bosco, in the north of Italy, and received in baptism 
the name of Michael. His parents were in such 
poverty that the boy's education was necessarily im- 
perfect and there seemed no human hope of his 
being able to carry out the desire of his heart, which 
was to consecrate himself to God in the religious state. 
One day, however, two Dominican Friars chanced to 
pass through Bosco and were so struck by the 
intelligence and angelic appearance of the young 
Michael that they proposed to take him with them to 
their Convent of Voghera. There he was enabled to 
pursue his studies, and at the age of sixteen was 
clothed in the habit of the Order, being known in 
religion by the name of Michael Alessandrino, Ales- 
sandria being the town nearest to Bosco. After 
having completed his studies and received holy orders, 
he was employed for sixteen years in teaching, and, 
much against his will, was compelled to accept the 
office of Prior successively in various Convents of 
the Order. 

In the year 1543 he was appointed Inquisitor for 
the district lying on the borders of Switzerland and 

Dominican Saints 115 

Italy, which he was to defend against the inroads Mays 
of the Protestant heretics, who were seeking to 
spread their pestilential errors over the fair plains 
of Lombardy. Father Michael showed the utmost 
courage and intrepidity in the discharge of his office 
and succeeded in escaping the ambushes laid for him 
by the heretics, who continually sought his life. After 
some years he became Commissary of the Holy Office 
of the Inquisition and had to fix his residence in 
Rome. Pope Paul IV. raised him to the dignity of 
Bishop of Sutri and Nepi, a small diocese in the 
neighbourhood of Rome, silencing the remonstrances 
which the humility of the Saint suggested by an 
imperative command henceforth to accept without 
raising any difficulties whatever might be imposed 
on him for the glory of God and the salvation of 
souls. In 1557 the same Pontiff made him Cardinal 
by the title of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, and soon 
afterwards supreme and perpetual Inquisitor of 
Christendom. Pius IV., who succeeded Paul IV. in 
the chair of Saint Peter, translated him to the more 
important see of Mondovi. 

On the death of Pius IV. he was elected as his 
successor in the January of 1566, mainly through 
the influence of Saint Charles Borromeo. It was 
with the utmost difficulty that he could be induced 
to accept the tiara; at length, however, in a voice 
choked by his sobs, he gave his consent, and assumed 
the title of Pius V. 

His manner of life after his elevation to the chair 
of Saint Peter relaxed in no way from the simplicity 
and regularity of his former years. Adhering as 
far as possible to the rule of his Order, he rose every 
day at dawn and recited the Divine Office, after 
which he spent several hours in mental prayer before 
entering on the transaction of business. He celebrated 

n6 Dominican Saints 

May 5 Mass every day, and every evening recited the Rosary 
and the Litany of our Lady with his entire house- 
hold. During the Carnival he was accustomed to 
visit the Seven Churches on foot, singing psalms as 
he went along or rapt in prayer for the members of 
his flock, exposed during those days of license to so 
many temptations to evil. He used to visit in person 
the hospitals of the city, and loved to minister with 
his own hands to the wants of their suffering inmates. 
His tenderness for the poor was touching to behold, 
and an English Protestant was converted by seeing him 
kiss the feet of a miserable being covered with wounds. 

His pontificate was marked by several important 
events, especially by the memorable victory of Lepanto, 
which rescued Europe from the danger then threatening 
her from the successful encroachments of the Turks. 
The complete destruction of the Ottoman fleet was 
divinely revealed to him at the moment at which it 
took place ; and in gratitude for this great deliverance 
he established the annual festival of Our Lady of 
Victories (afterwards changed to the festival of the 
Rosary), and added the invocation "Help of Christians"" 
to the Litany of Loreto. 

His lot was cast in the sad and troublous times 
immediately following the so-called " Reformation." 
He found himself, therefore, compelled to take part 
in the political and religious disputes of that unhappy 
period. He had to protect the Church with the utmost 
firmness from the attacks daily made upon her by open 
enemies as well as by disaffected or ambitious princes. 
He hesitated not to excommunicate the powerful 
English Queen, Elizabeth, and did all in his power 
to console and encourage her unfortunate victim, 
Mary Stuart. 

Saint Pius revised and published the Catechism 
of the Council of Trent and enforced its decrees ; he 

Dominican Saints 117 

also caused the Breviary and Missal to undergo a Mays 
careful revision and established greater uniformity in 
the Church Liturgy, which hitherto had varied much 
in different countries. Nor was the Holy Pontiff 
less energetic in the promotion of virtue and the 
restoration of order in his own dominions, which he 
purged of banditti, extending his just severity to all 
public sinners, whom 'he banished from the city of 
Rome under pain of corporal punishment. 

When he felt his end approaching, he resolved, in 
spite of extreme pain and weakness, to visit the holy 
places of the Eternal City for the last time. In the 
course of this pilgrimage, which he insisted on per- 
forming on foot, some English Catholics were pointed 
out to him, driven from their country by the fury of 
Elizabeth. He caused their names to be taken down, 
that he might provide for their needs, exclaiming, " O 
Lord my God, were it in my power, how willingly 
would I shed my blood for them all ! " 

His holy and happy death took place on the 1st 
of May, A.D. 1572, after a pontificate of six years 
three months and twenty-four days. He lies buried 
in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Numerous 
miracles have been worked through his intercession. 
He was beatified by Clement X., A.D. 1672, and 
canonized by Clement XL, A.D. 1712. 


O God, who wast pleased to elect the Blesssed Pius 
to the office of chief Pontiff for the defeat of the 
enemies of Thy Church and the restoration of Divine 
worship, grant that we may be defended by his 
watchful guardianship, and be so intent upon Thy 
holy service, that, overcoming all the wiles of our 
enemies, we may enjoy eternal peace. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 

MAY 10 

Saint Antoninus, Bishop and Confessor 

[(A.D. 1390-1459) 

May 10 SAINT ANTONINUS was born at Florence in A.D. 1390. 
His father, Nicholas Pierozzi, followed the legal pro- 
fession and filled several important offices in the city. 
The child received at the font the name of Anthony, 
but his smallness of stature and extreme gentleness ot 
disposition caused him to be always known by the 
graceful Italian diminutive of Antonino (little Anthony). 
His childhood was one of remarkable holiness and 
almost continual prayer, and he assiduously attended 
the sermons of the celebrated Friar Preacher, Blessed 
John Dominici. This holy man was superintending 
the erection of a new Convent at Fiesole, in the 
neighbourhood of Florence, and Antoninus implored 
admission into the Community. Alarmed at the extreme 
delicacy of his appearance, Blessed John was afraid to 
accede to his desires and sought some plausible excuse 
for a refusal. He told him, therefore, that it was 
necessary first for him to make further progress in his 
studies, but promised to admit him when he should 
have learnt by heart the Book of Decretals. This 
seemingly impossible condition in no way damped the 
ardent spirit of the young postulant. Within a year 
he had accomplished the task, and, coming to Blessed 
John, claimed the fulfilment of his promise. It was 
not refused ; and on the Feast of St. Dominic, A.D. 
1504, the holy youth was clothed in the habit of the 
Friars Preachers. He was sent to Cortona to make 
his noviceship under Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta, 
and had there as his companions Blessed Peter Capucci 

Dominican Saints 119 

and Fra Angelico of Fiesole. In such an atmosphere May 10 
of sanctity, Antoninus made rapid progress in per- 

The first miracle recorded of him is typical of the 
affectionate simplicity of his character. To comfort a 
little girl who was weeping bitterly over a broken 
pitcher, he collected the shattered fragments, made the 
sign of the cross over them, and restored the vessel to 
her whole and uninjured. During the greater part of 
his life the Saint filled the office of Prior in one or 
other of the most important Convents of the Order, 
and was himself the founder of the celebrated Convent 
of Saint Mark at Florence. He was an indefatigable 
student and wrote a Summa of Moral Theology, works 
on Canon Law, treatises for Confessors and Parish 
Priests, and a Chronicle of the History of the World. 
Saint Antoninus possessed in an eminent degree the 
gift of counsel ; cases of conscience and questions on 
Canon Law were continually submitted to him for 
solution, and such was his power of restoring peace to 
troubled souls, that he was popularly called " the 
Angel of Counsels." He assisted in the capacity of 
theologian at the General Council of Florence, A.D. 
1439, where he had the consolation of witnessing the 
reunion of the Greek and Latin Churches. He organ- 
ized a vast system of charity, which is still in existence 
in our own day, for the relief of the bashful poor 
of Florence, and greatly contributed to the develop- 
ment of Confraternities of Christian Doctrine for the 
instruction of the young. 

In the year 1446 he was raised to the archiepiscopal 
throne of Florence, a dignity which he only accepted 
when compelled to do so under penalty of excommuni- 
cation. As Archbishop he made no change in the 
poverty and simplicity of his life. His entire house- 
hold consisted of six persons ; his purse and his time 

i2o Dominican Saints 

May 10 were equally the property of his flock. In his govern- 
ment he united a singular sweetness and gentleness 
with the firmness and intrepidity which were called for 
by the abuses of the times. It was remarked how, 
amidst the multiplicity of cares which his extensive 
and vigorous administration entailed upon him, his 
countenance never lost its expression of calm serenity. 
Pre-eminently a man of prayer, never did he suffer the 
turmoil of business to disturb the inner sanctuary of 
his soul. When Florence was desolated by the plague 
and subsequently by famine and terrible earthquakes, 
Saint Antoninus showed himself indeed the father of his 
people. Night and day he might be seen traversing 
the city, followed by a few devoted friends and by an 
ass laden with provisions and remedies. 

His miracles were very numerous and bear a 
striking testimony to the simple and unostentatious 
life of the great prelate, much of whose time was spent 
amongst the poorest of his flock. At one time we find 
him mending the mill of a poor man, ruined by a 
flood ; at another, his blessing melts the iron which has 
hardened in the furnace of some obstinate sinners, 
whose hearts melt also into repentance at the for- 
bearance of the Archbishop. 

Saint Antoninus is commonly represented in Chris- 
tian art holding in his hand a pair of scales. This 
is in allusion to the following miraculous circumstance. 
An inhabitant of Florence once brought him as a New 
Year's gift a beautiful basket of fruit, in the secret 
hope of receiving a rich reward. When, instead of 
the expected donation, the Saint dismissed him with 
merely the words, " May God reward you," he went 
off in a very discontented frame of mind. On learning 
this, the Archbishop summoned him once more into 
his presence, and, calling for scales, placed the basket 
of fruit in one side of the balance and the written 

Dominican Saints 121 

words " May God reward you ! " in the other. The May 10 
slip of paper was found to far outweigh the fruits, and 
the donor retired covered with confusion. 

Nicholas V., who canonized Saint Bernardine of 
Siena, remarked that Antoninus living deserved canoni- 
zation as much as Bernardine dead; and the same 
Pope forbade any appeals or complaints to be received 
in Rome against sentences passed by the saintly 
Archbishop of Florence. 

The deathbed of Saint Antoninus was a holy and 
happy scene. " To serve God is to reign," were the 
words ever on his lips, together with that salutation of 
the glorious Virgin which had ever been among his 
favourite ejaculations : " O holy and immaculate Vir- 
ginity, with what praises to extol thee I know not." 
He expired on May 2, A.D. 1459, surrounded by the 
Friars of the Convent of Saint Mark, in whose midst 
he desired to be interred. A very remarkable testi- 
mony of honour was paid to him by the reigning 
Pontiff, Pius II., who commanded that his funeral 
should be celebrated with extraordinary splendour, and 
granted an indulgence to all who should kiss the hands 
or feet of the deceased Archbishop during the eight 
days that the body remained exposed before burial. 
The Bull of Saint Antoninus's canonization was drawn 
up by Adrian IV., A.D. 1523, but not published until 
the reign of his successor, Clement VII. 


May we be assisted, O Lord, by the merits of Thy 
blessed Confessor and Bishop, Saint Antoninus, that, 
as we confess Thee wonderful in him, so we may glory 
in that Thou art merciful unto us. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 

122 Dominican Saints 

MAY 12 

Blessed 3ane of Portugal, Virgin 

(A.D. 1452-1490) 

May 12 KING ALFONSO V. of Portugal, grieved at having no- 
children, went as a private pilgrim to a much-fre- 
quented church in the diocese of Lamego dedicated 
to Saint Dominic, earnestly begging of God to grant 
him an heir to his crown. The following year the 
Queen gave birth to a daughter, who was destined one 
day to wear the Dominican habit and who received in 
baptism the name of Jane. The States of the kingdom 
assembled at the King's desire and solemnly swore 
allegiance to the infant Princess in case no male heir 
should be born to inherit the crown. Three years 
later, however, a prince was born, who afterwards 
ascended the throne as John II. ; and shortly after his 
birth the two royal children had the misfortune ta 
lose their mother. The King entrusted the Princess 
to the care of a noble and virtuous lady, by name 
Dona Beatrix de Menezes, who trained her in habits 
of solid virtue and piety. The childhood of the little 
Jane was indeed wholly consecrated to God, and, as 
she grew up, she daily aimed at a yet closer union 
with Him whom she had already chosen as the Spouse 
of her soul. Despising all the flatteries and allure- 
ments of the Court, she constructed a little oratory y 
where she endeavoured to hide herself from the gaze 
of the world and to spend every moment she could call 
her own in prayer. 

The King, who had formed great designs for the 
Princess, was careful to have her instructed in every- 
thing that befitted her station ; and it was with 

Dominican Saints 123 

excessive pain and reluctance that she found herself May 12 
compelled to leave her chosen solitude in order to 
learn dancing, and singing, and other worldly accom- 
plishments. It was by no means easy for her to 
pursue the life of penance and devotion to which she 
felt herself called, secure from the notice of the Court. 
She selected, however, two of her ladies-in-waiting, 
who, like herself, were earnestly striving after perfec- 
tion, together with an old and very pious knight in 
her father's service, and, with their assistance, she 
gave abundant alms to the bashful poor and procured 
for herself coarse woollen underclothing and a rough 
hair-shirt, which she constantly wore beneath her 
royal robes. She slept on the bare ground, with a log 
for her pillow, and spent great part of the night in 
prayer and penitential exercises. She had a tender 
devotion to the Passion of Christ, and caused a repre- 
sentation of the crown of thorns to be added to her 
heraldic arms. 

At the age of sixteen she sought the King's per- 
mission to enter a poor and recently founded Convent 
of Dominicanesses at Aveiro, which was said to be the 
strictest and most fervent in all Portugal. Her request 
was met by an absolute refusal, and for a time she 
was compelled outwardly to acquiesce in this decision. 
Shortly afterwards, however, her father and brother 
set out on an expedition against the Moors in Africa, 
leaving Jane to govern the kingdom in their absence. 
This she continued to do with consummate prudence 
until their triumphant return, when she resolved to 
take advantage of the joyful meeting to throw herself 
at her father's feet and extort his consent to her long- 
desired retirement from the world. Alfonso did not 
refuse, and she accordingly took up her abode in 
the Convent of her choice when in the twentieth year 
of her age. She could not, however, take the habit 

124 Dominican Saints 

May 12 until the consent of the States of the kingdom had 
been obtained, and this was delayed for no less than 
three years. At the end of that time, the Princess 
took the bold step of acting without their leave, and 
was accordingly clothed, to the great joy of the 
Community, on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint 
Paul, A.D. 1475. 

Her trials, however, were not yet over. No sooner 
was it known that she had taken the habit than the 
whole kingdom, and, as it would seem, all the powers 
of hell leagued together against the poor novice. The 
Court wore mourning as if for her death. A message 
from the King demanded that she should be given 
up to him, and the Prioress and Community were 
threatened with the severest penalties should they fail 
to obey. The Prince, her brother, forced his way into 
the Convent and even into her cell, and threatened to 
tear the habit from her back and cut it into a thousand 
pieces. This war of tongues continued with un- 
abated violence for some time, but, strange to say, was 
never suffered to proceed to action. At length there 
was a temporary cessation and the Princess was for 
a while left free to devote herself with renewed fervour 
to the life of prayer and penance which she had 

She delighted in the humblest exercises of the 
religious state, sweeping, washing, carrying wood, and 
waiting on the sick in the infirmary. In order to be 
like the other Sisters in all things, she learnt to spin 
and to sew, and attained great perfection in these arts, 
so that it became her privilege to spin the linen thread 
from which the corporals were to be made. She also 
employed herself in the manufacture of disciplines and 
hair-shirts. She had a wonderful gift for consoling 
those among her Sisters who were suffering from 
interior trials; and by her burning words, and the 

Dominican Saints 125 

prayers and mortifications which she offered on their May 12 
behalf, she often obtained their deliverance. 

Blessed Jane's profession was long deferred and 
her family constantly pressed her to accept one or 
other of the royal suitors who sought her hand for them- 
selves or their respective heirs. The death of Louis XI. 
of France in the year 1483, and of Richard III. of 
England two years later, delivered her from this 
vexatious persecution ; and, though she dared not take 
the solemn vows of religion in face of the determined 
opposition of the kingdom, she at length ventured to 
bind herself by simple vows of poverty, chastity, and 
obedience. Her course was a shining one but of 
short duration. In the year 1489, her health, which 
had long been failing, entirely gave way. No remedy 
availed to bring relief. The only thing which seemed 
to assuage her sufferings was drinking cold water, and 
this the physicians forbade her to do ; so that she 
suffered like her Divine Spouse from a continual and 
tormenting thirst. On Christmas Eve she insisted on 
being present at the solemn chanting of the Martyro- 
logy ; and on the Good Friday of the following year 
caused herself to be carried to the choir to take part 
in the Adoration of the Cross ; and during the other 
ceremonies of Holy Week, at which her weakness 
would not permit her to assist, she begged the Sisters 
to leave the doors open, that she might at least catch 
the distant sound of the chant. On Easter Sunday 
she communicated in the choir, and before leaving 
it gazed long and lovingly on the stalls, as though 
grieved at the thought that she would never again 
sing God's praises there in the company of her Sisters. 

During her illness, Blessed Jane had a great fear of 
death and struck her breast continually, saying, " I 
have sinned, O Lord, have mercy on me;" then, 
devoutly clasping her crucifix in her hands, she would 

126 Dominican Saints 

May 12 add, " Turn away Thy face from my sins." But this 
fear in no way diminished her confidence in her Divine 
Spouse. The end came at last on May 12, A.D. 1490. 
As the Sisters praying around her came to the words 
in the Litany, " All ye holy Innocents, pray for her," 
the faithful Spouse of Christ breathed forth her pure 
soul to God. 

Her glory was manifested by many wonderful 
visions and miracles, and Pope Innocent XII. gave 
permission for her festival to be celebrated in the 
kingdom of Portugal and the Order of Saint Dominic. 


O God, who didst strengthen Thy Holy Virgin the 
Blessed Jane with unshaken constancy amidst royal 
pleasures and the allurements of the world, grant, 
through her intercession, that Thy faithful may 
despise all earthly things and ever aspire after the 
things of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

MAY 13 

Blessed Albert of Bergamo, Confessor 

(A.D. 1279) 

May 13 BLESSED ALBERT was born of poor and virtuous 
parents at the little town of Villa d'Ogna, near Ber- 
gamo in Italy. When only seven years old, he began 
to practise penance and charity, fasting three days in 
the week and giving the food of which he deprived 
himself to the poor. His childhood and youth were 
spent in innocence and yet he practised severe aus- 
terities. During his hard labour in the fields he kept 
himself in continual recollection of spirit, making use 
of all the sights and sounds of nature as so many 

Dominican Saints 127 

steps to raise up his mind and heart to God. In May 13 
obedience to the wishes of his father, he married a 
young peasant girl, with whom he lived for many 
years in perfect concord. She even began to imitate 
him in his exercises of piety. But, on the death of 
his father, her dispositions underwent a sudden change 
and thenceforth she became a continual trial to him. 
She would bitterly reproach him for wasting, as she 
expressed it, so much of his time in prayer, as well as 
for his profuse liberality to the poor. In this latter 
respect it must be owned Blessed Albert's conduct 
was somewhat trying, as he would occasionally give 
away the very dinner which had been prepared for 
themselves and their labourers. More than once, 
however, God made good the loss by miracle; and 
the holy man, by his unalterable sweetness, patience, 
and silence under this vexatious domestic persecu- 
tion, doubtless gained for himself a great treasure of 

Some powerful nobles having seized his little pro- 
perty, Albert, who by this time had become a widower, 
left the neighbourhood and settled at Cremona, where 
he earned for himself the title of " the diligent 
labourer." God was sometimes pleased to reveal the 
sanctity of His servant by miracles. Angels in human 
form came to help him in his work, thus enabling him 
to increase his earnings, almost the whole of which he 
distributed to the needy. One day he was carrying a 
barrel of wine to the house of a poor woman, when it 
accidentally slipped from his shoulder and broke to 
pieces on the road. u King of Glory, come to my 
assistance ! " exclaimed the holy man, according to his 
wont in all difficulties. Then he collected the broken 
pieces of wood, adjusted them in their proper places, 
and collected the spilt wine with his hands so that not 
a drop was lost. Not content with bestowing on the 

128 . Dominican Saints 

May 13 poor all that he could spare from his wages, he often 
solicited alms on their behalf. 

His lodgings were near the Dominican Convent, and 
he placed himself under the direction of the Fathers, 
and received the habit as a Tertiary. Thenceforth he 
devoted his time and strength almost entirely to the 
service of the sick poor, visiting them, rendering them 
the lowliest services, assisting them by his prayers in 
their last agony, and accompanying their remains to 
the grave. He even succeeded in founding a hospital. 

Blessed Albert exercised himself in these works of 
charity for a long time, until he understood it to be the 
will of God that he should undertake the life of a 
pilgrim, in which he spent several years. He is said 
to have visited the Holy Land once, the sanctuaries of 
Spain and in particular Saint James of Compostella 
eight times, and Rome nine times. He travelled in 
silence, wrapt in meditation or beguiling the monotony 
of the way by singing hymns or reciting psalms ; and 
he may be said to have faithfully observed the precept 
of praying always. As he was returning to Cremona 
after these pilgrimages and was already almost at the 
gates of the city, he had to cross the river Po. The 
ferryman rudely refused to admit him into his boat 
without payment and the servant of God had no 
money. Then Blessed Albert cast his mantle on the 
waters and embarking upon it reached the opposite 
bank in safety. 

Having settled down once more in the home of his 
adoption, he devoted himself especially to the service 
of poor pilgrims. In spite of his own extreme poverty, 
he lodged them under his roof, waited upon them with 
the same reverence he would have rendered to Christ 
Himself, conducted them to all the sanctuaries of the 
city, and then gave them an alms to enable them to 
continue their journey. 

Dominican Saints 129 

At length, worn out by his labours, he fell sick and May 13 
asked for the Last Sacraments. The priest delaying 
to come, the Bread of Angels is said to have been 
brought to him by a white dove, which suddenly 
appeared in his room. Clasping his crucifix in his 
hands and covering it with kisses, he breathed forth 
his soul to his Creator on the 7th of May, A.D. 1279, 
being in the sixty-fifth, or, according to some writers, 
the seventy-fifth year of his age. When preparations 
were made for his interment in the cemetery, it was 
found impossible to penetrate the earth, so that it 
became necessary to carry the sacred remains to the 
church, where, beneath the very spot where the holy 
man had been wont to pray, a vault was found ready 
prepared, of the existence of which no one had 
previously been aware. Here the body was laid with 
great honour, the Bishop himself performing the fune- 
ral service. 

Benedict XIV. approved the immemorial veneration 
paid to Blessed Albert, and gave permission for Mass 
and Office to be celebrated in his honour in the 
Dominican Order and by the clergy of the dioceses of 
Bergamo and Cremona. 


O God, who wast pleased that Blessed Albert, Thy 
Confessor, should shine with singular sanctity in a 
lowly condition of life, grant that we may so tread in 
his footsteps as to be worthy to obtain his rewards. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

130 Dominican Saints 

MAY 14 

Blessed gidius or Giles of Portugal, 

(A.D. 1183-1265) 

May 14 EGIDIUS (or GILES) RODRIGUEZ was born of noble 
parents at Vouzella in Portugal about A.D. 1183. His 
family destined him for the ecclesiastical state and 
sent him for his education to Coimbra, where he 
became eminent as a philosopher and devoted himself 
to the study of medicine. Several rich benefices had 
been obtained for him; but the young man entirely 
neglected his sacred obligations and even entered into 
an unholy compact with Satan, which he signed with 
his own blood. For seven years he is said to have 
studied magic in the caves of Toledo under his infernal 
master. When he reappeared amongst men, he was 
found to be endowed with a marvellous power over the 
elements and able to cure the most inveterate diseases. 
He took his degree at Paris as doctor in medicine and 
established his reputation by numerous and striking 
cures, evidently surpassing human power, whilst his 
life was one of unbridled iniquity. 

But God in His infinite mercy had decreed to change 
this unhappy slave of the devil into one of His own 
most faithful and loving servants. One night, as 
Egidius was pursuing his unholy studies with the 
doors locked upon him, an armed horseman of gigantic 
stature suddenly appeared before him, and, shaking his 
lance, exclaimed in terrific accents, " Change thy life ! 
Change thy life, I tell thee." The vision disappeared 
and the trembling Egidius cast a remorseful glance on 
the miserable past. But his bad habits soon regained 

Dominican Saints 131 

the mastery. Then the fearful apparition came a May 14 
second time, charged full upon the unhappy sinner, 
and hurled him to the ground, exclaiming thrice, 
" Change thy life or I will slay thee." " I will change, 
Lord, I will change ; pardon my delay," faltered the 
miserable man. He rose an altered being. His first 
act was to consign all his books of magic to the flames. 
He then set out for Spain, took the habit of a Friar 
Preacher in the newly founded Convent of Palencia 
about A.D. 1 220, and fervently entered upon a course 
of penance and devotion. 

But for seven years (the same term as that of his 
unholy apprenticeship to Satan) no comfort came to 
his anguished soul. Terrifying visions of demons con- 
tinually assailed him and the thought of the contract 
signed with his own blood and binding him to the Evil 
One filled him with fear and remorse. Yet he per- 
severed in prayer and penance, continually commending 
himself to her who is the Refuge of sinners and who 
is never invoked in vain. One night, when he was ex- 
posed to the most terrible assaults of the demons, the 
paper of his contract was suddenly and violently thrown 
on the ground before him, and an infernal voice cried 
aloud that Mary had conquered. Egidius took the bond, 
felt himself freed from his sufferings, and for the first 
time tasted the consolations of a soul perfectly at rest. 

From that time he became as distinguished for his 
holiness and his seraphic love of God as he had formerly 
been for his apostasy and rebellion. He bore in par- 
ticular a most tender devotion to the Holy Name of 
Jesus, the mere casual utterance of which often had 
the power to cast him into ecstasy. He became one 
of the most celebrated religious of his time, and was 
more than once Provincial of the Order in Spain. His 
miracles were very numerous, and his power over the 
evil spirits who had so long and so cruelly tyrannised 

132 Dominican Saints 

May 14 over him was exhibited in many wonderful ways. One 
of his favourite maxims was that we must forget our- 
selves in the service of our neighbour, and that the 
salvation of souls must take precedence of all private 

There is something singularly attractive in the 
picture which is left us of the life and practices of this 
wonderful man. He would take advantage of the time 
when the Brethren were in the schools to clean and 
tidy their cells for them and would render the lowliest 
services to the sick. Being naturally of a cheerful 
and loquacious disposition, he found extreme difficulty 
in practising the rule of silence; but, understanding 
this to be a temptation of the devil, he resolved to 
live in strict retirement in his cell ; and so generously 
did he overcome himself in this matter, that thenceforth 
he was hardly ever heard to utter a useless word. If 
any one needed his help, he would at once lay aside 
his own occupation and hasten with a joyful counte- 
nance to render the desired service. His whole bear- 
ing attracted souls to the love of the Order and to the 
practice of poverty and obedience. He was ever ready 
to console the tempted and to render the humblest 
services to the sick Brethren. 

When the hour of his death drew nigh, he caused a 
hair-cloth to be stretched upon the ground, and, ex- 
tending himself upon it, received the Last Sacra- 
ments and spoke words of consolation to his weeping 
Brethren. Then he raised his hands to heaven, say- 
ing, " Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit ; " 
after which, stretching forth his arms in the form of a 
cross, without agony, he happily departed this life on 
the Feast of the Ascension, A.D. 1265. 

Benedict XIV. approved the veneration which had 
always been paid to Blessed Egidius in the Dominican 
Order and the kingdom of Portugal. 

Dominican Saints 133 


We humbly implore Thy mercy, O God, that as in May 14 
that same preventing mercy Thou didst cause the 
blessed Egidius to return back to the way of holiness 
and justice, so Thou wouldst translate us from slavery 
and the death of sin into life and perfect liberty. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

MAY 20 

Blessed Colutnba of Rieti, Virgin 

(A.D. 1468-1501) 

BLESSED COLUMBA was born of humble parents at May 20 
Rieti in Italy, probably in A.D. 1468. She received in 
baptism the name of Angela ; but, as she was held at 
the font, a white dove suddenly appeared, and, after 
flying three times round the baptistery, settled on the 
infant's head ; and thenceforth she was always called 
by the name of Columba (dove). Her saintliness of 
disposition was manifested even from her infancy. 
When barely three years old, she secretly strewed 
thorns over her little bed; and, when only a little 
older, she took the discipline with seventy and en- 
deavoured to fast on Fridays on bread and water and 
to go barefoot. As soon as she had learnt the Hail 
Mary, she placed herself especially under Our Lady's 
protection and at the age of twelve consecrated 
herself to God by a vow of virginity. She became 
very intimate with a Congregation of Nuns of the 
Third Order of Saint Dominic, then established at 
Rieti, and under their guidance made rapid progress 
in the saintly sciences of mortification and prayer. 
Her parents were desirous of giving her in marriage, 

134 Dominican Saints 

May 20 and had even fixed the day for her betrothal, when 
Columba was instructed by a heavenly vision to imi- 
tate the example of Saint Catharine of Siena. In- 
terpreting this to signify the cutting off of her hair, 
she instantly obeyed; and, entering the room where 
her parents and the intended bridegroom with his 
friends were awaiting her, she flung the hair con- 
temptuously on the ground and declared her unalter- 
able resolution to remain the spouse of Christ alone. 
After some further persecution she was at length 
permitted to follow the way of life to which God so 
strongly called her, and entered upon a course from 
the very thought of which nature recoils. Thrice 
every night she disciplined herself to blood; she 
seemed to live in prayer ; and her fast, with the 
short interruptions of some of the greater festivals, 
was perpetual. 

The fame of her sanctity induced a Spanish Bishop 
to journey from Rome to Rieti in order to see her. 
He recognised her in church by the appearance of a 
bright star which shone above her head, and instructed 
and consoled her, recommending her to practise very 
frequent Communion, and to make much use of the 
9<Dth Psalm : " Qui habitat" One day when Columba 
was about nineteen, she beheld in vision the three 
holy founders, Saint Benedict, Saint Francis, and Saint 
Dominic, each inviting her to assume the habit of his 
Order ; but Columba's choice had long ago been made 
and she looked lovingly at the Father of the Friars 
Preachers, who immediately claimed her for his own 
by throwing around her his mantle, whence exhaled 
a heavenly fragrance. After this she received the 
habit of the Third Order from the hands of the Prior 
of the Dominican Convent at Rieti on Palm Sunday. 
Her raptures, miracles, and prophecies were rendering 
her very famous, when God made known to her, A.D. 

Dominican Saints 135 

1488, that He desired her to leave her native city. She May 20 
was brought in a mysterious manner to Perugia, where 
a Convent was built for her at the public expense and 
where she made her solemn profession on the Whit- 
Sunday of 1490. In less than two years she had 
gathered around her a Community of fifty members, 
whom she governed with great charity and prudence, 
though it was long before she could be induced to 
accept the title of Prioress. 

When the plague visited the town of Perugia, Col- 
umba begged that the people might be spared and the 
wrath of God vented on herself; and her prayer was 
answered by a nine days' visitation of a most terrible 
malady. By her advice, the inhabitants earnestly be- 
sought Saint Dominic and Saint Catharine to take the 
city under their protection ; public processions were 
made, and the scourge ceased its ravages. 

In the summer of 1495, Pope Alexander VI. visited 
Perugia and at his desire Columba was brought before 
him. Scarcely had she touched the hem of his gar- 
ment than she fell into ecstasy and remained for a long 
time motionless at his feet. On recovering the use of 
her senses, she was subjected to a searching examina- 
tion in presence of the Pontiff, who professed himself 
entirely satisfied with the result, and granted her many 
favours. Two years later, she had an awful vision 
regarding the state of the Church and the chastise- 
ments which threatened Italy, of which she sent an 
account to the confessor of Alexander VI., at the 
same time uttering bitter reproaches against those 
who had brought such disgrace upon the Spouse of 

Columba's life was one of severe bodily mortifica- 
tion and was deeply seamed and scarred with the 
marks of the cross of her Divine Bridegroom. Dis- 
trust, reproaches, injuries, and the blackest calumnies 

136 Dominican Saints 

May 20 were heaped upon her ; she was even deprived of her 
confessor: her bodily sufferings from excruciating 
toothache and other painful disorders were extreme ; 
but, though the pain sometimes drew tears from her 
eyes, she endured all with unalterable sweetness and 
patience, saying that our Lord is amiable everywhere 
and under all circumstances, but that it is on the 
cross that He shows Himself the most loving of 

Some months before her death, Saint Dominic 
appeared to her, saying, " Rejoice, my daughter. 
The hour is at hand when thou shalt be for ever 
united to thy Spouse." After the servant of God 
had undergone a long and painful illness, this happy 
hour came at length, on the eve of the Ascension, 
May 20, 1501. The Passion of our Lord was read 
to her at her own request; and at the words, "He 
gave up the ghost," she once more commended her 
soul to God, our Blessed Lady, Saint Dominic, and 
Saint Catharine. " My Spouse, my Spouse," she 
repeated, " come ; it is now time ; receive Thy servant, 
Lord ; my sweet Lord, receive " and as she pro- 
nounced this last word, she calmly breathed forth her 
soul to God. At the moment of her death she 
appeared in great glory to another beatified Saint of 
the Order, Blessed Osanna of Mantua. 

Blessed Columba worked many miracles during her 
lifetime and many more were vouchsafed after her 
death through her intercession. She was beatified 
by Urban VIII. 


O God, who wast pleased that Thy Holy Virgin, 
the Blessed Columba, graced with the spotless white- 
ness of purity and innocence, should shine forth with 
heavenly splendours, grant, we beseech Thee, at her 

Dominican Saints 137 

intercession, that, serving Thee here with pure minds, May 20 
we may deserve to enjoy the brightness of Thy glory 
in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

MAY 22 

Saint Seruatius, Bisbop and Confessor, 
Protector of tbe Dominican Order 

(A.D. 384) 

SAINT SERVATIUS was of noble birth, and was May 22 
renowned alike for his learning and sanctity. He 
became Bishop of Tongres in Belgium, which then 
formed part of Gaul, and in that capacity assisted 
.at the Council of Sardica, where he strenuously de- 
fended the Catholic faith against the Arians. He 
likewise stoutly resisted these heretics at the Council 
of Rimini, and laboured to prevent the ill consequences 
which threatened the Church through their frauds 
and the weakness of the Bishops. Being sent by the 
tyrant Magnentius, together with Saint Maximin, 
Bishop of Treves, as ambassador to the Emperor 
Constantius, he was honourably entertained by Saint 
Athanasius at Alexandria. 

Saint Gregory of Tours states that Saint Serva- 
tius foretold the invasion of Gaul by the Huns, and 
implored the Divine mercy by watching, fasting, 
prayers, and many tears to avert so great a calamity 
from the flock entrusted to his care. For this in- 
tention he undertook a penitential pilgrimage to the 
tomb of Saint Peter in Rome. As he was weeping 
and praying there, the Prince of the Apostles appeared 
to him and thus addressed him: "Wherefore dost 
thou importune me ? The Lord has decreed that the 

1 3 8 Dominican Saints 

May 22 Huns should enter Gaul and lay it waste in a terrible 
manner. Take my counsel, therefore; lose no time; 
set thy house in order, prepare thy grave, make ready 
a clean winding-sheet. Behold, thou shalt depart 
this life and shalt not witness the evils which the 
Huns are to bring upon Gaul, as the Lord our God 
hath spoken." 

The holy Bishop, therefore, returned in all haste 
to his diocese, and with many tears imparted the sad 
tidings to his heart-broken flock. " Holy Father, do 
not abandon us," they exclaimed ; " Good Shepherd, 
forget us not." Very shortly afterwards he fell ill, as 
Saint Peter had foretold, and closed his saintly life 
by a holy death on the I3th of May, A.D. 384, after 
an episcopate of thirty-seven years. It is recorded 
that when all the country round was white with snow r 
his tomb at Maestricht always remained free from it 
until the time when a church was raised over his holy 

Saint Servatius was declared Protector of the 
Dominican Order in consequence of the following 
circumstances. In the fourteenth century the Church 
and the Order were suffering bitter persecution from 
the schismatical Emperor, Lewis of Bavaria. Learning 
that the General Chapter was convoked to meet in 
his dominions, at the city of Cologne, A.D. 1330, this 
prince secretly plotted the death of the capitular 
Fathers. They had just assembled, when Saint Ser- 
vatius appeared in a dream to one of their number, 
a very holy religious, warned him of the danger 
which threatened himself and his Brethren, and bade 
them flee to Maestricht. This they accordingly did, 
thus escaping the snares which had been laid for 
them. And though their coming to Maestricht was 
wholly unexpected, God disposed the hearts of the 
inhabitants to receive them with the utmost kindness* 

Dominican Saints 139 

In gratitude for this providential intervention, the May 22 
Fathers decreed that the festival of Saint Servatius 
should henceforth be celebrated in the Order to the 
end of time. But, as it was at first instituted only 
under the rite of a Feast of Three Lessons, the great 
increase of festivals of higher rank caused it, after 
the lapse of years, to fall into disuse. To preserve 
the memory of so great a benefit, the Fathers, there- 
fore, obtained permission from Pope Leo XII. that 
the festival of Saint Servatius should be henceforth 
celebrated throughout the entire Order with the rank 
of a Totum Duplex, or Greater Double. 


Graciously hear these our prayers, we beseech Thee, 
O Lord, which we offer to Thee in this solemnity of 
Blessed Servatius, Thy Confessor and Bishop, that, 
as he deserved to do Thee worthy service, so, through 
his merits and intercession, Thou wouldst mercifully 
absolve us from all our sins. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

MAY 23 

Blessed eu)is Iftarp filiation de Ittontfort, 

(A.D. 1673-1716) 

LEWIS MARY GRIGNON, called de Montfort from the May 23 

place of his birth, was born in Brittany of poor but 

pious parents of noble family, in the year 1673. In 

his youth he delighted in inducing his little sister and 

her companions to recite the Rosary, encouraging them 

to the practice by small presents. After going through 

his studies at the Jesuit College at Rennes, he repaired 

140 Dominican Saints 

May 23 to Paris for his theological course and entered the 
Seminary of Saint Sulpice. Here his entire disregard 
of human respect in his practices of piety drew upon 
him many painful and humiliating trials, whilst his 
perfect obedience secured him from every illusion. 
Having been ordained priest, he returned to the west 
of France, and devoted himself to missionary labours. 
After a time he went on pilgrimage to Rome and 
entreated the Pope to send him to preach the Gospel 
in the East; but the Holy Father assured him that 
God called him, not to foreign missions, but to combat 
the errors of the day in his own country. 

The remainder of his life was entirely consecrated to 
evangelising the western provinces of France, where, 
in the space of twelve years, he gave more than two 
hundred retreats and missions. Wherever he preached 
he established the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, 
making arrangements, if possible, for its daily recital. 
He had a great taste for drawing and painting, but, 
from a spirit of mortification, or for fear of distracting 
himself from the presence of God, he early made an 
entire sacrifice of this his favourite recreation. His 
great gift for poetry was wholly used in the service 
of his Divine Master, and many of the most popular 
hymns still used in France were written by him. 

In 1710 he made his profession in the Third Order 
of Saint Dominic in the Convent of Friars Preachers 
at Nantes; and, like his holy Father, he continually 
strove to draw down the blessing of God on his 
apostolic labours by the practice of the severest 
penances. He was an object of hatred to the Jan- 
senists, who at that time were insidiously spreading 
their errors in France. In many places they con- 
trived to poison the minds of the Bishops against the 
servant of God by cruel calumnies, and sufferings 
and humiliations were his lifelong portion. On one 

Dominican Saints 141 

occasion when, after fifteen months' labour, he had May 23 
almost completed the erection of a gigantic Calvary at 
a place called Pontchateau in the diocese of Nantes, 
he was suddenly forbidden to proceed with the un- 
dertaking, found himself banished from the diocese, 
and beheld the work which had cost him so much 
labour destroyed by the hands of the militia of the 
district. In this bitter trial he saw nothing but the 
accomplishment of the holy will of God. " God be 
blessed," said he tranquilly ; " God be blessed. I did 
not seek my own glory, but only the glory of God. 
I hope to receive from Him the same reward as if I 
had succeeded." At La Rochelle the Calvinists, irri- 
tated by the many conversions which the holy man 
had effected, attempted to poison him, and he suffered 
from the effects of the draught during the rest of his 

Blessed Lewis founded schools and hospitals, and 
everywhere laboured for the restoration of the churches, 
which were at that time in a very dilapidated state. 
He established Missionaries to continue his work 
under the title of the Society of Mary, a Congrega- 
tion of religious women called " Filles de la Sagesse" 
(Daughters of Wisdom), and a pious Association called 
" Brethren of the Holy Ghost." 

Worn out by his labours and penances, the servant 
of God continued to devote himself to preaching till 
within a few days of his death, which took place on 
April 28, A.D. 1716, when he was only forty-three 
years of age. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. on 
the occasion of his sacerdotal jubilee, A.D. 1888. 


O God, who didst make Blessed Lewis Mary, Thy 
Confessor, an admirable preacher of the mystery of 
the Cross and of the Most Holy Rosary, and didst, 

142 Dominican Saints 

May 23 through him, give a new family to Thy Church, grant, 
by his merits and intercession, that, by the life, death, 
and resurrection of Thy only-begotten Son, we may 
obtain the rewards of eternal life. Through the same 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

MAY 25 

translation of tbe Relics of our fiolp 
Father, Saint Dominic 

(A.D. 1233) 

May 25 THE body of the holy Patriarch, Saint Dominic, had 
been laid to rest, according to his own desire, in the 
Church of Saint Nicholas at Bologna, beneath the feet 
of his Brethren, and, in spite of continual prodigies 
and Divine favours granted to the faithful who prayed 
day and night at his tomb, his children allowed the 
sacred deposit to remain under the plain flagstone 
originally laid over it and took no steps for obtaining 
his canonization. Lest they should be thought to be 
seeking their own emolument under the appearance 
of piety, the Friars even broke and threw away the 
votive offerings brought by the people, and would not 
permit any exterior marks of devotion to be exhibited. 
It was necessity which at length compelled them to 
undertake the first translation of the sacred relics. 
The ever-increasing numbers of the Community 
obliged them to enlarge the Convent, and to pull 
down the old church and build a new and more 
spacious one. To do this the tomb of Saint Dominic 
would have to be disturbed. They accordingly applied 
for the requisite permission to Pope Gregory IX., who 
was no other than the Saint's old friend, Cardinal 
Ugolino. He joyfully granted the petition, at the 

Dominican Saints 143 

same time administering a sharp rebuke to the Friars May 25 
for their long negligence. 

The solemn translation accordingly took place on 
Whit-Tuesday, May 24, A.D. 1233, during the General 
Chapter, which was held that year at Bologna. The 
Pope wished to have attended in person, but, being 
prevented from doing so, he deputed the Archbishop 
of Ravenna to represent him, in company with a 
number of other distinguished prelates. Three hun- 
dred Friars Preachers from all countries assembled 
to assist at this function, not without a secret fear on 
the part of some as to the state in which the sacred 
remains might be found, as they had long been ex- 
posed to rain and heat, owing to the dilapidated 
condition of the church. The opening of the tomb 
took place before daybreak, in the presence of Blessed 
Jordan, then Master-General of the Order, and the 
Fathers of the Chapter, together with the Bishops, 
Prelates, and Magistrates who were to assist at the 
ceremony. All stood round in silence whilst the 
Procurator, Father Rodolph of Faenza, raised the 
stone. Hardly had he begun to remove the earth 
and mortar that lay beneath than an extraordinary 
odour became perceptible, which increased in power 
and sweetness as they dug deeper, until at length, 
when the coffin appeared and was lifted out of the 
grave, the whole church was filled with the perfume 
as though from the burning of some rich and precious 
gums. The bystanders knelt on the pavement, shed- 
ding tears of emotion as the lid was raised, and the 
sacred remains, now reduced to bones, were exposed 
to their eyes. 

It was the Master-General who raised the body of 
his beloved father and reverently laid it in a new 
coffin. The faithful were then admitted, and the 
Archbishop of Ravenna sang the Mass of the day, 

144 Dominican Saints 

May 25 whilst the fragrance diffused from the open coffin 
flooded the whole of the sacred edifice. Blessed 
Jordan in his circular letter to the Order thus de- 
scribes the solemn function : " As the choir en toned 
the Introit, ' Receive the joy of your glory, giving 
thanks to God, who has called you to the celestial 
kingdom/ the Brethren in their gladness of heart took 
the words as if spoken from heaven. The trumpets 
sounded, the people displayed a countless multitude of 
tapers ; and, as the procession moved along, there 
everywhere resounded the words, ' Blessed be Jesus 
Christ ! ' ' He goes on to speak of the vast number 
of miraculous graces which were poured forth both 
before and after the ceremony. "Sight," he says, 
"was granted to the blind, power of walking to the 
lame, soundness to the paralyzed, speech to the dumb. 
... I myself saw Nicholas, an Englishman, who had 
long been paralyzed, leaping at this solemnity." 

The coffin was then laid in the marble tomb pre- 
pared for it. But eight days later, to satisfy the 
devotion of some distinguished persons who had not 
been present on the previous occasion, the holy re- 
mains were again exposed to view. Then it was that 
Blessed Jordan, taking the sacred head between his 
hands, kissed it, whilst tears of tenderness flowed from 
his eyes ; and, so holding it, he desired all the Fathers 
of the Chapter to approach and gaze at it for the last 
time. One by one they came and kissed the venerable 
relics. All were conscious of the same extraordinary 
fragrance ; it remained on the hands and clothes of 
those who touched or came near the body. Nor was 
this the case merely when the grave was first opened. 
The tomb remained unclosed for fifteen days, during 
which interval it was guarded by officers appointed by 
the city magistrates ; and all this time the same ex- 
quisite odour was sensible to all who visited the spot ; 

Dominican Saints 145 

and Flaminius, who lived three hundred years later, May 25 
thus writes (A.D. 1527): "This divine odour adheres 
to the relics even to the present day." 

A second translation of Saint Dominic's relics took 
place in the year 1267, when the holy body was 
removed to a more richly ornamented tomb. This 
translation, like the first, was made at the time of the 
General Chapter ; and the head of the Saint, after 
being devoutly kissed by the Brethren and several 
Bishops who were present, was exposed to the venera- 
tion of the people from a lofty stage erected outside 
the Church of Saint Nicholas. The tomb was again 
opened A.D. 1383, when a portion of the head was 
placed in a silver reliquary, in order the more easily 
to satisfy the devotion of the faithful. Finally, A.D. 
1469, the remains of the Saint were deposited in the 
magnificently sculptured shrine in which they now 
rest, which is regarded as the masterpiece of Nicholas 


O God, who hast vouchsafed to enlighten Thy 
Church by the merits and teachings of Thy blessed 
Confessor, our holy Father, Saint Dominic, grant at 
his intercession that it may never be destitute of 
temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual 
growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

146 Dominican Saints 

MAY 27 

Blessed Peter Sanz and bis Companions, 

(A.D. 1747-1748) 

May 27 To the Order of Friars Preachers, according to the 
testimony of Pope Benedict XIV., belongs the glory of 
having been the first to send missionaries to China 
and to water that ungrateful soil with the blood of 
Martyrs. It is no part of our present task to describe 
the apostolic labours of the sons of Saint Dominic in 
that far-off portion of the Master's vineyard ; we can 
only here give a brief sketch of the life and martyrdom 
of five Spanish Friars who have recently received 
the honours of beatification at the hands of Pope 
Leo XIII., but who were by no means the first of 
their Brethren to shed their blood for the faith in 

The Blessed Fathers, Peter Martyr Sanz, Francis 
Serrano, John Alcober, Joachim Royo, and Francis 
Diaz, were all born towards the close of the seven- 
teenth or at the beginning of the eighteenth century. 
They all received the habit of Saint Dominic at a very 
early age in various Convents of their native land, 
showed themselves to be models of every religious 
virtue, and at their own earnest request were suc- 
cessively sent on the Chinese mission, the province of 
Fo-Kien becoming the scene of their labours. The 
apostolate of Blessed Peter Sanz began in 1715, and 
in 1730 he was consecrated Bishop of Mauricastrum 
in partibus infidelium. Blessed Joachim Royo was 
only twenty-three when he landed in China, and was 
ordained priest on the soil, which, after more than 

Dominican Saints 147 

thirty years of fruitful labour, he was to water with May 27 
his blood. 

Some very interesting particulars have been pre- 
served regarding the vocation of Blessed John Alcober. 
The Chinese mission seems early to have occupied his 
mind, but the extraordinary success which attended 
his preaching in his native land for a time damped the 
ardour of his desires, until it was rekindled in a won- 
derful manner. One day in Lent, in the midst of an 
impassioned appeal to the hearts of sinners, Blessed 
John seized a large crucifix, and, holding it up before 
the people, exclaimed, as though speaking in the 
person of Christ : " How long, O ye sons of men, will 
you be heavy of heart ? How long, ye sinners, will 
you remain hardened ? " Then it pleased his Divine 
Master to speak to him in a clear voice from the 
crucifix, saying: "And thou, John how long?" 
The words were heard by himself alone ; but his 
astonished audience were witnesses of the deep 
emotion of the preacher, who was obliged at once to 
leave the pulpit. Our Lord's tender reproach did not 
fall unheeded on his ears, and the close of A.D. 1726 
found him in China, where he had recourse to the 
most ingenious devices to gain access to the Christians 
in the midst of the persecution which was then raging. 

Blessed Francis Diaz was by far the youngest of 
the heroic band, and concerning him also some edifying 
details have come down to us. To his father's earnest 
entreaties that he would take possession of a family 
benefice which had fallen vacant when he was still a 
mere boy, he replied : " Urge me no more, father ; the 
riches and comforts of life are nothing to me. I shall 
consecrate myself to God in the Order of Saint 
Dominic as soon as I am old enough ; I shall join the 
Fathers who volunteer for the Philippines ; and I shall 
shed my blood for Jesus Christ in China." On the 

148 Dominican Saints 

May 27 news of his martyrdom being brought to his father, the 
old man, in the midst of his tears and thanksgivings, 
related this incident. 

When a fresh persecution unexpectedly broke out 
in the year 1746, three of the missionaries were soon 
seized, imprisoned, and cruelly tormented to make 
them reveal the hiding-place of the Bishop, Father 
Peter Sanz, and of Father Royo. On hearing this, the 
two thus sought after voluntarily surrendered them- 
selves, in the vain hope of saving their Brethren. All 
five were immediately dragged to Fou-Tcheou, where 
they were thrown into separate prisons, and at various 
times examined and put to most cruel torments. 
Astonished at their unalterable patience, the pagans 
asked them if they felt no pain. "Indeed I do/ r 
replied the venerable Bishop, " but I think of my 
Saviour's sufferings." During the whole of his cap- 
tivity, which lasted several months, the holy old man 
faithfully observed the rule of his Order and rose at 
midnight to recite his Rosary, being no longer able to 
say the Divine Office, as his Breviary had been taken 
from him. He was the first of the little band to receive 
the crown of martyrdom, being beheaded on May 26th, 
A.D. 1747, whilst his afflicted flock were reciting the 
Rosary for him. 

The other four Confessors of the faith bore their 
prolonged imprisonment with equal cheerfulness, and 
ceased not to labour for the salvation of souls even to 
the end. It was in his dark dungeon and into his 
chained hands that Blessed Francis Serrano received 
the Bulls whereby Pope Benedict XIV. appointed him 
coadjutor to Bishop Sanz, with the title of Bishop of 
Tipasa and Pro- Vicar Apostolic of Fo-Kien. He did 
not, however, live to receive episcopal consecration, 
being honoured instead with the martyr's crown, which 
he obtained, together with his three companions, on 

Dominican Saints 149 

October 28th, A.D. 1748. Blessed Francis Serrano May 27 
and Blessed Joachim Royo were stifled in a horrible 
manner in their prison, whilst Blessed John Alcober 
and Blessed Francis Diaz were strangled. The relics 
of the martyrs were gathered up by the faithful, and 
portions of them were subsequently brought to Europe. 


O God, who didst endow Thy blessed Martyrs, 
Bishop Peter and his companions, both with constancy 
and charity to preach the faith to heathen nations, 
grant us, we beseech Thee, through their example 
and intercession, to persevere constantly in Thy faith. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

MAY 28 

Blessed IKaria Bartolomea Baanesi, Vircji* 

(A.D. I5I4-I577) 

MARIA BARTOLOMEA BAGNESI was born in Florence May 28 
of noble parents on the Feast of Saint Bartholomew, 
A.D. 1514. From her earliest childhood she gave 
token of her future sanctity, continually repeating : " I 
will have no other Spouse than Jesus." Four of her 
elder sisters having become nuns and others being 
married, Maria had to assume the management of the 
house whilst still a mere girl; but, in spite of the 
manifold duties which devolved upon her, and which 
she discharged with marvellous prudence and success, 
she never neglected any of her exercises of piety. 
Her father determined to give her in marriage to one 
of the many suitors who sought her hand ; but at the 
bare mention of an earthly alliance, Maria fell to the 
ground, stricken in all her limbs with a strange weak- 

15 Dominican Saints 

May 28 ness, and she was confined to her bed during the 
remaining forty-five years of her life, except for a brief 
interval, after her profession as a Dominican Tertiary, 
when she was able to visit the Church of Santa Maria 
Novella and some of the Convents of the city. 

Her bodily sufferings were excruciating and always 
redoubled in violence on occasion of the great festivals 
of the Church. Satan was also permitted to visit her 
with violent temptations and trying scruples, but she 
bore all with heroic patience and with a countenance 
radiant with joy. She could not bear to see any one 
look sad or downcast. " Why are you sad," she would 
say to such persons : " Fulfil all your duties with 
fidelity, and Jesus, who is perfect joy, will come into 
your heart and will make it leap for gladness." 

Her family fell into straitened circumstances, and 
for twenty-four years Blessed Maria had to endure a 
cruel domestic persecution from a servant who tyran- 
nised over her afflicted mistress in the most heartless 
manner ; but the servant of God bore all with perfect 
sweetness. A true daughter of Saint Dominic, she 
ceased not to labour for souls, not only by her prayers, 
and sufferings, and penitential exercises, but also by her 
wise counsels. Multitudes flocked to pour out to her 
their trials and difficulties, and no one left her un- 
consoled. She had contrived to convert her sick-room 
into a sort of chapel, where the Holy Sacrifice was 
almost daily offered; and, though usually unable to 
move, she might often be seen during Mass raised in 
ecstasy, remaining sometimes for a long space with 
her arms outstretched in the formof a cross. She went 
to Confession every day, and during the last years of 
her life was refreshed almost daily with the Bread 
of Angels. 

Her happy death took place on Whit-Tuesday, 
A.D. 1577. Her holy remains were laid to rest, 

Dominican Saints 151 

according to her own desire, in the church attached May 28 
to the Carmelite Convent of Saint Mary of the Angels, 
where she was held in great veneration. Seven years 
later, Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, then a young 
religious in that Convent, was miraculously cured of 
a dangerous illness through the intercession of Blessed 
Maria, to whom she ever afterwards bore a singular 
devotion. One day our Lord showed her Blessed 
Maria placed beside Saint Catharine of Siena in glory, 
and even raised somewhat higher than that great 
Saint, a circumstance which He explained by saying 
that Blessed Maria had laboured and suffered for the 
salvation of souls during a much longer space of time 
than Saint Catharine, who died at the early age of 
thirty-three. On another occasion the holy Carmelite 
beheld Blessed Maria holding in her hand some 
garments of exquisite whiteness, destined for those of 
her clients who were desirous of being clothed with 
purity of heart. She appeared to apply these garments 
to the open side of our Lord, when they assumed 
various hues in conformity with the special needs of 
the souls for whom they were intended, whether of 
humility, charity, or penance. Blessed Maria seemed 
to take the hearts of some of her clients as though to 
cleanse them ; the hearts of some she opened, in order 
to render them more capable of receiving the Precious 
Blood ; but she did this for those souls only who had 
earnestly begged this favour of her. It was revealed 
to Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi that Blessed Maria 
thus served as a channel of heavenly graces by reason 
of her admirable purity.- 

This special model of the sick and suffering was 
raised to the altars of the Church by Pope Pius VII. 
Her body, which is perfectly incorrupt, reposes at 
Florence, under a side altar in the Convent Church 
of Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, whither the 

152 Dominican Saints 

May 28 Carmelite nuns have been obliged to remove from 
their Convent of Saint Mary of the Angels. 


O God, the Lover of souls, who, in the person of 
Blessed Maria Bartolomea, Thy Virgin, didst unite 
a wonderful endurance of grievous diseases with an 
equal innocence of mind, grant that we, who are afflicted 
according as our actions deserve, may be refreshed 
with the comfort of Thy grace. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

MAY 29 

Blessed William and l)i$ Companions, 
tDe Iftartprs or floignonet 

(A.D. 1242) 

May 29 THE MARTYRS OF AVIGNONET were of the number 
of those who fell victims to the cruelty of the Albigenses 
in the South of France in the thirteenth century. In 
1234, Blessed William Arnauld was appointed by Pope 
Gregory IX. Inquisitor of the Faith for the dioceses of 
Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne, and Agen, the very 
territory which had been the scene of the labours of 
of his holy Patriarch, Saint Dominic, some twenty 
years previously. Blessed William's zeal in the dis- 
charge of his duties drew down upon him the special 
hatred of the heretics, and he and his Brethren were for 
a time driven from their Convent at Toulouse. They 
soon returned, however, and devoted themselves with 
renewed energy to their apostolic work, which was 
destined to win for some amongst them the glorious 
crown of martyrdom. A few days before this happy 
consummation of their labours, it pleased God to reveal 

Dominican Saints *53 

the coming event to a holy Friar, who was praying in Ma ? 29 
the Convent at Bordeaux. He beheld in vision our 
crucified Saviour, and our Blessed Lady receiving in a 
golden chalice the blood which was streaming from the 
wounds of her Divine Son. Then, raising the chalice, 
she poured its contents on three religious, clad in the 
Dominican habit, who were humbly kneeling at her 

A similar revelation was made to one of the future 
martyrs, a Franciscan, Blessed Raymund Carbonier, 
who beheld descending from heaven a beautiful and 
radiant crown, adorned with eleven precious stones. 
This crown hung in the air over the building at Avig- 
nonet in which the martyrs were afterwards attacked. 
Blessed Raymund had no difficulty in understanding 
the meaning of the vision and hastened to communicate 
the glad tidings to Blessed William, who was at the 
head of the mission. The holy Inquisitor, who was 
at Prouille at the time, listened attentively to the 
story, and then cried out to his companions : " Know, 
my Brethren, that in a few days' time we shall be 
martyred for the faith of Jesus Christ." Then he 
immediately set out for Avignonet, a small town a 
few miles distant from Toulouse, at the head of his 
little company, which consisted of Blessed Bernard 
of Rochefort, a Friar Preacher, Blessed Garcia of 
Aure, a Dominican lay-brother, two Franciscans, the 
Prior of the Monastery of Saint Benedict at Avignonet, 
Raymund, Archdeacon of the Church of Toulouse, 
Bernard, a cleric of the same Church, two other clerics 
who acted as messengers, and a layman, a notary of 
the name of Peter. On reaching their destination, the 
missionaries began to preach with greater ardour than 
ever, and the enraged heretics met together and plotted 
their destruction. 

Raymond of Alfaro, an infamous man, who then 

154 Dominican Saints 

May 29 ruled Avignonet in the name of the Count of Toulouse, 
invited the holy men into his castle, under pretext of 
friendship and reconciliation. When the eleven were 
assembled in a large hall which was used for adminis- 
tering justice, assassins, who had already been concealed 
on the premises, broke in upon them. The servants of 
God did not attempt to escape. Kneeling down, they 
entoned the Te Deum, and ceased not to sing till their 
voices were hushed in death. Some of the Catholics 
of the place managed, at the risk of their lives, to drag 
Blessed William Arnauld and the Franciscan, Blessed 
Stephen of Narbonne, into the parish church, and 
claimed for them the privilege of sanctuary. But the 
infuriated heretics burst into the sacred edifice and 
struck their victims to the ground with redoubled 
blows, even carrying their cruelty so far as to tear out 
the tongue of Blessed William, by whose eloquence 
they had so often been put to confusion. This glorious 
martyrdom took place on the eve of the Ascension, 
May 29, A.D. 1242. Miraculous lights revealed to 
the Catholics the spot where the mangled remains had 
been thrown by the heretics, and made known far and 
near the triumph^of the martyrs; and many miracles 
were worked by their intercession. 

The parish church of Avignonet, in which the crime 
had been consummated, remained under interdict for 
the space of forty years. At the end of that time, the 
Albigensian heresy had almost entirely disappeared, and 
the people applied to Rome for permission to re-open 
the building. It was granted, and on the very day 
appointed for the solemn rite of reconciliation, the 
doors of the church, which had been closed with 
immense iron bars, broke open of themselves ; and the 
bells, so long silent, rang out of their own accord, and 
continued to ring during an entire day and night. On 
entering the church, the people found within it a 

Dominican Saints 155 

beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin, which had never May 29 
been seen there before, and which is held in venera- 
tion even to our own day ; and later on, a Confraternity 
was established in honour of Our Lady of Avignonet. 
The principal festival of this Confraternity is on the 
first Tuesday in June; and on that day a touching 
ceremony takes place, called the Vow of Avignonet, 
said to owe its origin to a vow made by the inhabitants 
on occasion of the re-opening of their church. Per- 
sons of all ranks may be seen, holding lighted tapers 
in their hands, dragging themselves on their knees 
from the miraculous statue which stands at the bottom 
of the church to the steps of the sanctuary, where, 
over the High Altar, hangs a picture representing the 
death of the Martyrs. This ceremony is intended as a 
solemn act of reparation towards our Blessed Lady, so 
horribly blasphemed by the heretics, and towards the 
holy Martyrs, whose blood was shed on that spot. 

The Martyrs of Avignonet were beatified by 
Pius IX. 


O God, for whose love and for the zeal of defending 
whose faith Blessed William and his companions fell 
beneath the swords of the wicked, grant, we beseech 
Thee, that through their intercession we may be firm 
in the faith and may always love Thee with our whole 
heart. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

MAY 31 

Blessed James or salomotiio, Confessor 

(A.D. 1231-1314) 

BLESSED JAMES was born of rich and noble parents at May 31 
Venice, in the year 1231. His father died shortly 

156 Dominican Saints 

May 31 after his birth and his mother retired into a Convent, 
intrusting the care of the child to his paternal grand- 
mother, a holy widow, who brought him up very 
piously. A pretty and significant story is told of the 
early childhood of the little James. His grandmother 
once promised him some great reward if he would 
recite the Little Office of our Blessed Lady for a 
hundred consecutive days. At the end of the time 
the child appeared and claimed his promised reward. 
He received, however, nothing but a caress and a few 
words of praise, and his hoped-for treat was withheld 
or forgotten. The circumstance made a deep impres- 
sion on his mind. He made a resolution to turn his 
back on human motives and human rewards, and con- 
tinued to say the Office daily, not to please any earthly 
friend, but for the sole object of serving God and His 
Blessed Mother. 

His patrimony, of which he was entire master, was 
very large, and he literally fulfilled our Lord's exhor- 
tation to the rich young man in the Gospel, by dis- 
tributing the whole of it to the poor. He then 
presented himself at the Dominican Convent of Saints 
John and Paul, where he received the habit on his 
seventeenth birthday. Finding, however, that the 
visits of his relatives were a source of some distraction, 
after twenty years, he obtained leave from his Supe- 
riors to remove to the Convent of Forli, and there he 
spent the remainder of his long religious life, with 
the exception of the intervals passed at Faenza, San 
Severino, and Ravenna, where he filled the office of 

The sanctity of Blessed James manifested itself 
chiefly in the perfection with which he observed his 
religious Rule. It was his constant study, and on his 
deathbed he mentioned as a subject for special thank- 
fulness, that during five-and-twenty consecutive years 

Dominican Saints 157 

he had not above five times drunk between meals, May 31 
words which revealed also his spirit of mortification, 
as in the hot climate of Italy thirst is a far more 
frequent and painful source of suffering than in our 
northern land. It had evidently been the great 
thought of his life to sanctify himself through his 
Rule. We read also of his never being absent from 
the choral recitation of the Divine Office, either by day 
or by night, and of the singular beauty of his manner 
of discharging his choir duties, being a master in the 
art of chanting. 

Blessed James had a special devotion to the recital 
of the Offices of those Saints who are not commemo- 
rated by the universal Church. Two holy martyrs, 
Saints Acisclus and Victoria, are venerated at Cordova, 
where a miracle is believed to be annually renewed in 
their honour. Their festival falls on the i^th Novem- 
ber, and on that day fresh and beautiful roses are said 
always to blossom on the scene of their martyrdom. 
These saints are, however, little known save in Cor- 
dova. Blessed James loved to venerate them ; and once, 
when he was walking in the country on their feast- 
day, meditating on their sufferings, a rose of exquisite 
beauty and fragrance suddenly bloomed before him, 
doubtless sent as a token of the Divine approval of his 
veneration for these blessed martyrs. 

He made a pilgrimage to Rome to visit the many 
sanctuaries of the Eternal City. One day, going to 
Saint Sebastian's, the sacristan who kept the keys of 
the Catacombs was not to be found ; but after praying 
for a few moments, Blessed James touched the iron 
bar, which was fastened by a padlock, the gates 
instantly opened of themselves, and he and his com- 
panions were enabled to satisfy their devotion. He 
had an earnest desire to say Mass in the chapel of the 
Seal a Santa, known as the Sancta Sanctorum. As 

158 Dominican Saints 

May 31 many most precious relics are preserved in this chapel, 
strangers are hardly ever permitted to celebrate there ; 
and Blessed James was told that his desire was an 
impossible one, since he was but a poor, unknown 
Friar. Trusting in the goodness of God, however, he 
went one morning to pray in this Sanctuary, having 
purposely omitted to say Mass before leaving his 
Convent. As he entered, he was accosted by the 
sacristan, who asked him if he were a priest and 
whether he had yet said Mass. On receiving his 
reply, " Then I pray you," said the sacristan, " to 
say it in the Sancta Sanctorum, for the priest who 
should by rights have done so has been prevented." 
Then Blessed James very gladly said his Mass, re- 
ceiving very great consolation and thanking God for 
His wonderful goodness. 

The fame of Blessed James as a Confessor was very 
great, both amongst his Brethren and seculars; he 
was commonly called the " Father of the Poor," and 
showed himself a wonderful consoler of the afflicted, 
to whom he was wont to say: "If you only knew 
how profitable sufferings are, you would ask our 
Lord to increase your sufferings, together with His 

During the last four years of his life he suffered 
from a terrible cancer, which caused him excrucia- 
ting pain, but which for several months he kept 
concealed from the knowledge of all. He said his 
Office even to the last day of his life, and breathed 
forth his holy soul to God on the 3ist of May, 
A.D. 1314, at the age of eighty-three, having spent 
sixty-six years in the religious life. He worked 
many miracles, both during his life and after his 
death, and the veneration paid to him was approved 
by Clement VII. (A.D. 1526), and also by subsequent 

Dominican Saints 159 


O God, who givest us joy in the annual solemnity of May 31 
Blessed James, Thy Confessor, mercifully grant that 
we may imitate his actions whose festival we now 
celebrate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Alfonso Rauarrete and Ms Com- 
panions, the Tftartprs of Japan 

(A.D. 1614-1643) 

ON July /th, A.D. 1867, just after the celebration of the June i 
eighteenth centenary of the martyrdom of Saints Peter 
and Paul, Pope Pius IX. solemnly beatified two hundred 
and five martyrs who had suffered for the faith in 
Japan at various dates during the persecution which 
raged in that country between A.D. 1614 and A.D. 
1643. Fifty-nine of these blessed martyrs belonged to 
the Order of Saint Dominic ; of these, some were 
European missionaries, for the most part Spaniards 
from the Philippine Islands, others native Friars, and 
others again Tertiaries ; fifty-eight more were members 
of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. There 
were also Jesuits, Franciscans, and Augustinians, and 
numbers of native converts. 

The first Dominican who laid down his life for the 
faith in thisy persecution was the Blessed Father 
Alfonso Navarrete, who for his heroic deeds of charity 
has been termed the Saint Vincent de Paul of Japan. 
He was captured by the pagans when on his way to 
succour the afflicted Christians of Omura, an act which 
was equivalent to offering himself for martyrdom. 

160 Dominican Saints 

June i After dragging him from one desert island to another, 
in order to find some spot where his execution might 
take place unknown to the Christians, the soldiers at 
length struck off his head as he knelt in prayer, hold- 
ing his rosary and a blessed candle in one hand and a 
wooden cross in the other. His martyrdom took place 
on June 1st, A.D. 1617. 

During the five years which ensued, numbers of 
missionaries and of native Christians fell into the 
hands of the persecutors, and were at length all im- 
prisoned together at Omura. There were nine Domi- 
nicans, nine Franciscans, nine Jesuits, amongst whom 
was the famous Father Charles Spinola, and a few 
seculars. During their long and painful captivity, 
they kept up all the exercises of community life, 
rising at midnight to recite their Office, and celebrating 
as many Masses as they could at daybreak. They 
also imposed on themselves many fasts and other 
austerities, in addition to the sufferings which they 
had to undergo in their wretched prison. Yet so full 
of joy were they at the thought of suffering for the 
name of Christ, that Father Alfonso de Mena of the 
Order of Saint Dominic used to date his letters, " From 
this prison of Omura, the paradise of my delights." 
On September 9th, A.D. 1622, four-and-twenty of the 
prisoners were removed to Nangasaki, and on the 
following day were led out to the Holy Hill, conse- 
crated twenty-five years before by the crucifixion 
of the twenty-six canonized martyrs of Japan. A 
Christian went before them, bearing the banner of the 
Confraternity of the Holy Name, whilst they followed 
joyfully, singing the Litanies and the Te Deum. 
Father Joseph of Saint Hyacinth addressed the crowds 
who had gathered together to witness the scene, ex- 
horting them to be faithful to the devotion of the Holy 
Rosary, which would continue to instruct them when 

Dominican Saints 161 

their pastors should be no more. A stake was pre- June i 
pared for each of the martyrs, the horrible death of 
burning having been assigned to several of them. 
Another procession of native Christians from Nanga- 
saki now joined them, clad in robes of ceremony and 
preceded by a Dominican Tertiary, clothed in the 
habit of the Order and carrying a cross. Some of 
them bore their little children in their arms. The 
victims numbered upwards of fifty ; about half of them 
were sentenced to be burnt and the rest beheaded. 

The former were fastened to their stakes in such 
a way as to allow of their escaping, should they choose 
to save their lives by apostasy. The fire was applied 
slowly, so as to prolong their agony ; but only two of 
the heroic company evinced any sign of being con- 
scious of their sufferings. Both of them were young 
Japanese and implored the Govenor to grant them a 
quicker death ; but the boon was denied, and Blessed 
Paul Nangasci, a Dominican Tertiary, left his stake to 
lead them back to the altar of sacrifice. The Blessed 
Father Angelo Ferrer Orsucci was seen to rise gra- 
dually in a kneeling posture several feet above the 
flames, and thus continued for some time in ecstasy. 
One by one the Martyrs passed to their reward. The 
Blessed Father Hyacinth Orphanel lingered in agony 
for sixteen hours, expiring at length with the names 
of Jesus and Mary on his lips. This martyrdom is 
known in history as the Great Martyrdom. All the 
religious orders in Japan shared the triumph, but that 
of Saint Dominic was most numerously represented, 
offering to God on that day five of its priests, and 
three professed Brothers, besides numbers of Tertiaries 
and members of the Confraternity of the Rosary. 

A few weeks previously the Blessed Father Lewis 
Florez had been executed at the instigation of the 
Dutch, on August iQth, and two days after the Great 


1 62 Dominican Saints 

June i Martyrdom, three more Dominicans suffered death by 
fire. In the following year, A.D. 1623, on the 25th of 
August, the Blessed Father Peter Vasquez was burnt 
in company with four companions, singing the litanies 
in the midst of the flames. On July 26th, A.D. 1627, 
Blessed Father Lewis Bertrand, cousin and namesake 
of the great Saint Lewis Bertrand, was burnt with two 
native Friar Preachers. Next year the Blessed Father 
Dominic Castellet shared the same fate, in company 
with two Dominican lay-brothers and two Franciscans. 
So fiercely did the persecution rage, and so fiendish 
were the measures taken for preventing the landing of 
fresh missionaries in the country, that at length the 
Japanese Christians were left without pastors and 
continued in that condition for two hundred years. 
Nevertheless, when, in our own days, the long closed 
Empire became once more accessible to Europeans, it 
was found to contain a considerable number of Chris- 
tians who had preserved the form of baptism with the 
utmost accuracy, were well instructed in the essential 
doctrines of religion, and familiar with many of the 
prayers in common use among the faithful, and who 
still cherished with great veneration a picture repre- 
senting the Fifteen Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. 
What stronger testimony can be alleged to the truth 
of the Catholic Church which could thus sustain its 
life, drawn from a Divine source, under circumstances 
that must have crushed any religion of human origin ? 


O God, who grantest unto us to rejoice in the 
triumph of Thy Blessed Alfonso and his companions, 
grant us, we beseech Thee, through their merits and 
intercession, a like constancy in faith and perseverance 
in good works. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 163 


Blessed Sadoc and bis Companions, tbe 
Iftartprs of Sandomir 

(A.D. 1260) 

THROUGHOUT the whole of his apostolic career, the June 2 
desire which lay nearest to the heart of Saint Dominic 
appears to have been that of devoting himself to the 
conversion of the Cumans, a savage horde who had 
established themselves on the north-east of Hungary. 
It was not God's will, however, that the Father and 
Founder of the Friars Preachers should carry the light 
of faith to these poor barbarians ; the work which he 
was not permitted himself to undertake was reserved 
for his sons. In the General Chapter of A.D. 1221, 
held only a few weeks before the death of the Saint, 
Father Paul of Hungary, who had recently joined the 
ranks of his disciples, was dispatched to found the 
Order in the lands bordering on the Danube, having 
as his companions Blessed Sadoc, who was of Scla- 
vonic origin, and three others. When they reached 
the confines of Hungary, Blessed Sadoc, praying dur- 
ing the night, as was his custom, for the extension 
of the Order and the success of their mission, saw 
himself surrounded by a troop of demons, who cried 
out : " Woe to us ! You are come to snatch from 
us our rights, to drive us from our possessions." 
Then, pointing to the young novices recruited on the 
way, the infernal visitants exclaimed in despairing 
accents : " And must it be by mere children like these ? 
O what confusion ! " 

Father Paul eventually realised his holy Patriarch's 
desire and won a martyr's crown among the Cumans ; 

164 Dominican Saints 

June 2 and Blessed Sadoc, who had shared his labours for 
several years, became Prior of the Convent of San- 
domir in Poland. In the year 1260, this town was 
attacked by a fierce horde of Tartars, led on and 
encouraged by those inveterate enemies of the Polish 
nation, the Russians, who, finding the place strongly 
defended and almost impregnable, treacherously pro- 
posed a suspension of hostilities. During the night 
previous to this truce, the Community had assembled 
to sing Matins and Lauds. At the conclusion of the 
Office, one of the novices going out according to 
custom into the middle of the Choir to sing the 
Martyrology (i.e. the list of the Saints to be com- 
memorated on the morrow) saw in the place of the 
book where he should begin, these words in letters 
of gold : " At Sandomir the passion of forty - nine 
Martyrs." The novice was greatly perplexed at the 
sight; nevertheless he mastered his emotion, and, 
to use the words of the old chronicler, "with the 
simplicity of a dove and the voice of a swan sang out 
to the Brethren the words which he saw before him." 
The astonished Prior desired the novice to bring the 
book to him, and the miraculous inscription was dis- 
tinctly seen by the entire Community. Then the holy 
Prior, filled with the Spirit of God, counted his Friars, 
and found that with himself they numbered exactly 
forty-nine. " Brethren," he exclaimed, "these words 
are for us; and doubtless it is the Tartars who will 
open for us the gates of heaven ; and that to-morrow. 
Now, therefore, all that remains for us to do is to 
prepare by confession and by a devout reception of the 
Bread of Angels for our happy martyrdom." The 
religious listened to him with tears of joy and thank- 
fulness. Not knowing when the destined hour might 
be, they immediately got ready for Confession, and 
spent the remainder of the night in prayer and in calm 

Dominican Saints 165 

preparation for the morning's Communion and for a June 2 
holy death. 

At daybreak, they all approached the Holy Table, 
with wonderful peace in their breasts, knowing that to 
them it was indeed to be the Viaticum. As the day 
wore on and no signs of the expected barbarians 
appeared, they fulfilled their accustomed offices and 
duties, yet with a sweet impatience for the hour of 

At length, at the hour of Compline, they went to 
the Choir to offer up the last act of worship they 
should be called on to render in this life. They sang 
that office with unusual solemnity and gladness, and 
at its conclusion went out into the body of the church 
in procession, as the manner is in our Order, to sing 
the Salve. As they were sweetly entoning this 
Antiphon to the Blessed Mother of God, a band of 
Tartars, traitorously admitted into the city by the 
treacherous Russians, burst into the church and cut 
them all to pieces. One of the Friars was seized with 
the impulse to flee and succeeded in hiding himself in 
the belfry ; but (we quote again from the old Chronicle), 
" perceiving that the mangled bodies of his com- 
panions, whose souls were now singing Alleluias in 
heaven, continued, though dead, to chant that sweet 
melody of the Salve, he regained courage, offered 
himself of his own accord to the swords of the bar- 
barians, and went to join his fortunate Brethren in the 
courts of Paradise. Thus they died, like heavenly 
swans, whose death-songs were the sweet praises of 
their Mother Mary, and doubtless her virginal hands 
very lovingly crowned them with the garland of 

From this time the custom was introduced into the 
Order of singing the Salve at the death-bed of its 
members, in order to beseech Mary to change the 

1 66 Dominican Saints 

June 2 labours and trials of this vale of tears into the eternal 
possession of the blessed fruit of her womb. 

These blessed Martyrs were beatified by Pius VII. 


Mayest Thou be revealed to us after this exile, O 
Lord Jesus, by Thy merciful and tender Mother, the 
Virgin Mary, whom Blessed Sadoc and his companions 
saluted with unceasing voice amidst the assaults of the 
infidels their enemies, deserving to receive from Thee 
the desired palm of martyrdom. Who livest and 
reignest world without end. Amen. 


translation of UK Relics of 
Saint Peter, iftartpr 

(A.D. 1340) 

June 4 AFTER the death of this glorious champion of the 
faith, Heaven was pleased to attest his sanctity by 
countless miracles in every part of Christendom, and 
the Sovereign Pontiffs vied with each other in doing 
honour to his memory. The first translation of his 
holy remains took place during the Provincial Chapter 
within a year of his martyrdom. The body on this as 
well as on subsequent occasions was found perfectly in- 
corrupt. It was laid in a sarcophagus, the gift of the 
Abbot of San Simpliciano, who had not forgotten the 
words pronounced by the Saint a few years previously, 
when, pointing out the block of marble of which it was 
made, he had said, " That would make a famous tomb 
for a martyr." The municipality of Milan surrounded 
the shrine with a balustrade of exquisite workmanship. 

Dominican Saints 167 

When Saint Thomas Aquinas passed through Milan June 4 
in the year 1262, he wrote an epitaph in verse which 
was engraved on marble by the side of the Martyr's 

A yet more splendid shrine, a masterpiece of sculp- 
ture, carved by Balducci of Pisa, out of white Carrara 
marble, and supported on eight pilasters of red Verona 
marble, was raised to the honour of the champion 
of the faith in the following century, and the sacred 
remains were transferred to it during the General 
Chapter held at Milan in the year 1340. Many 
miracles were worked on this occasion, and the 
Fathers of the Order very reluctantly yielded to the 
request of John Visconti, Archbishop of Milan, and 
gave him the head of the holy Martyr, which he 
enclosed in a silver tabernacle. Not long after, the 
prelate was seized with violent pain in the head, which 
no remedy could relieve. The Friars were not slow 
to put their own interpretation on this circumstance ; 
they told the Archbishop that Saint Peter wished 
that his head should be restored to the keeping of 
his own Brethren, and this was accordingly done. 
The Saint himself appeared to a pious Florentine 
resident in Milan, and bade him build a chapel 
wherein his head might be kept in great veneration. 
His commands were obeyed, and a magnificent chapel 
was erected, adjoining the apse, in the Dominican 
Church of San Eustorgio, wherein the body of the 
Martyr reposed. 

Some alterations in the church necessitated a fresh 
translation of the sacred remains in the year 1736. 
They were then removed to the chapel which had 
been built, as we have seen, for the reception of the 
head. In our own day San Eustorgio has, alas ! 
been taken away from the Order, and has become an 
ordinary parish church. 

1 68 Dominican Saints 


June 4 Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we 
may imitate with due devotion the faith of Blessed 
Peter, Thy Martyr, who, for the extension of that 
same faith, was made worthy to obtain the palm of 
martyrdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Diana, Cecilia, and flmata, Virgins 

(I3th Century) 

June 9 ON this day are jointly commemorated three of our 
Holy Father Saint Dominic's eldest spiritual daughters, 
who appear to have been singularly dear to him. 
Blessed Diana was a member of the noble family of 
D'Andalo, and it was she who persuaded her father 
and grandfather to make over to the Friars Preachers 
their rights over the Church of Saint Nicholas at 
Bologna, and to give them land for the site of a Con- 
vent. Despising the pomps and vanities of the world, 
she placed herself under the spiritual direction of 
Blessed Reginald, who, on his departure for Paris, 
confided her to the care of the holy Patriarch, Saint 
Dominic, and in his presence and that of Blessed 
Reginald, Blessed Guala, the Community of Saint 
Nicholas, and many noble ladies of Bologna, Diana 
bound herself by the vows of religion, though per- 
mitted for a time to remain in her father's house. 
There she led a life of penance and devotion, earnestly 
longing for the day when a Convent for religious 
women of the Order should be founded in her native 

Saint Dominic entrusted the execution of this design 

Dominican Saints 169 

to four of the principal Fathers at Bologna, charging June 9 
them to begin it without waiting for the completion of 
their own Priory. Many difficulties, however, arose, 
and Blessed Diana had to encounter the most deter- 
mined opposition on the part of her family. She fled 
for refuge to a neighbouring Monastery, whence she 
was dragged with such violence as to fracture one of 
her ribs. After remaining a prisoner in her father's 
house for nearly a year, during which Saint Dominic 
consoled her by his letters, she again escaped to the 
same Convent, where this time she was suffered to re- 
main until the new Convent of Saint Agnes was ready 
for her reception. This was not until after the death 
of Saint Dominic. 

During the Octave of the Ascension, A.D. 1223, 
Blessed Jordan, who had succeeded our Holy Father 
in the government of the Order, installed Blessed 
Diana and some other noble maidens of Bologna in 
their new home ; and a few weeks later, on the Feast 
of Saints Peter and Paul, he gave them the habit and 
afterwards admitted them to profession. To train 
them in religious life and in the ceremonies of the 
Order, he summoned four of the nuns from Saint 
Sixtus in Rome, and amongst them the Blessed Cecilia 
and Amata, the former of whom belonged to the noble 
family of the Cesarini, and had joined the Community 
in the Trastevere, which our Holy Father was com- 
missioned to reform. When they were transferred to 
the Convent of Saint Sixtus, Cecilia, then only seven- 
teen, was the first to throw herself at the feet of the 
Saint to beg for the habit of the Order. She now, at 
the age of twenty-three, became the first Prioress of 
the new Monastery at Bologna. 

Of her companion, Blessed Amy or Amata, no par- 
ticulars have been preserved. Some authors have 
believed her to be identical with the possessed woman 

170 Dominican Saints 

June 9 who disturbed Saint Dominic's sermon at Saint Sixtus 
a few days after the profession of the nuns, and who 
was by him delivered from her tormentor and ad- 
mitted into the Community, the Saint himself bestow- 
ing on her the sweet name of Amata, or " the Beloved." 
But, as it has been proved that this Sister went on 
pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella at a date 
when the four Sisters from Saint Sixtus were already 
settled at Bologna, the theory in question is untenable, 

Blessed Jordan watched with paternal tenderness 
over the young Community at Saint Agnes's, whose 
fervour in penitential exercises he found himself obliged 
to moderate. He often consoled them by his letters, 
and commended himself and the success of his preach- 
ing to their prayers. 

Blessed Diana lived in the Order for thirteen years 
in great humility and love of poverty, and in such 
fervour of spirit as frequently by her burning words to 
move the Sisters to tears of devotion. She happily 
departed to her Spouse on the loth of June, A.D. 1236. 

Blessed Cecilia lived to extreme old age. To her we 
are indebted for a most graphic and beautiful account 
of our Holy Father's life at Saint Sixtus and Santa 
Sabina. She died in the odour of sanctity A.D. 1290, 
and was buried in the same tomb with Blessed Diana 
and Amata. Their remains have been twice discovered 
and honourably translated. Pope Leo XIII. has ap- 
proved of the veneration paid to these holy Virgins, 
and given permission for their Mass and Office to be 
celebrated in the Archdiocese of Bologna and through- 
out the Dominican Order. 


O God, who didst endow Thy blessed Virgin Diana 
with admirable fortitude of spirit, and didst give her 
Blessed Cecilia and Amata as companions in treading 

Dominican Saints 

the path of Evangelical perfection, grant that we may June 9 
be strengthened in difficulties by their example and 
protected by their help in adversities. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 

JUNE 10 

Blessed Joint Dominici, Bishop 
ana Confessor 

(A.D. 1350-1420) 

BLESSED JOHN DOMINICI was born at Florence June 10 
about A.D. 1350. He was of humble parentage and 
imperfect education, and had, moreover, an impediment 
in his speech, so that his first application for admission 
into the Order of Saint Dominic was refused. He 
persevered in his request, however, and was received 
when about eighteen years of age. It was observed, 
that, in assuming the habit, he seemed to acquire a 
marvellous nobility of manner ; his talents were found 
to be of the highest order, and he was soon held in 
great repute for his extraordinary eloquence. Earnestly 
desiring to devote himself to the ministry of the word, 
the special office of his Order, he implored the inter- 
cession of Saint Catharine of Siena that he might be 
delivered from the impediment of speech which had 
hitherto prevented him from preaching. His petition 
was granted ; and from that time he became one of the 
most renowned preachers of the day ; so much so, that, 
when Saint Vincent Ferrer was invited to preach at 
Florence, he excused himself on the plea, that, as the 
city possessed so eloquent an orator as Father John 
Dominici, there could be no need of him. Blessed 
John received yet another favour through the inter- 
cession of Saint Catharine ; for, being at Rome in the 

i7 2 Dominican Saints 

June 10 Jubilee year and unable by reason of a bad foot to 
make the visits to the four Basilicas required for gain- 
ing the Indulgences, he had recourse to the Seraphic 
Virgin of Siena, whom he had seen in his youth, and 
was at once entirely delivered from his infirmity. He 
was intimately associated with her Confessors and 
other Fathers who had been her disciples, and he took 
a leading part in the reform of the Order set on foot 
by Blessed Raymund of Capua, who appointed him 
Vicar Provincial of the Roman Province. Later on, 
we find him endeavouring to restore regular life in the 
various important Convents of which he was succes- 
sively superior, and founding a house of strict observance 
at Fiesole, near Florence, where he gave the habit to 
Saint Antoninus and to the two artists, Fra Angelico 
and Fra Benedetto. Blessed John was himself an 
artist of no mean talent and enriched the choral books 
of his Convent with beautiful miniatures. He rightly 
regarded art as a means of instructing the young 
and the ignorant in the truths of religion and of rais- 
ing the mind to heavenly aspirations. With this view 
he greatly encouraged its cultivation both among the 
Friars and the religious women of the Order. 

But Blessed John's title to the gratitude of the faith- 
ful in general is chiefly based on the important part 
which he had in the extinction of the great Schism of 
the West, which for nearly half a century had divided 
the allegiance of Christendom. Created Archbishop 
of Ragusa and Cardinal by Pope Gregory XII., he had 
a large share in the convocation of the Council of 
Constance, at which he assisted as that Pontiff's 
Legate. The great object of the Council was to obtain 
the resignation of all three claimants of the pontifical 
dignity, in order that the Fathers might then proceed 
to the valid election of one, to whose lawful claims 
none could offer opposition. Blessed John succeeded 

Dominican Saints 173 

in inducing John XXIII. to offer his resignation on June 10 
condition Pope Gregory should also resign. The anti- 
pope little knew that the holy Cardinal held the 
formal resignation of that Pontiff in his hand, and 
was thunderstruck when he immediately produced it. 
Then, laying aside his Cardinal's hat, Blessed John 
added these words : " And I, who came as that 
Pontiff's Legate, also renounce my dignity and my 
cardinalate ; " and so saying he took his place among 
the Bishops. The Fathers of the Council insisted, 
however, on restoring him to his rank. The re- 
maining anti-pope, Benedict XIII., better known as 
Peter de Luna, was deposed; and the Council pro- 
ceeded to elect Odo Colonna, who took the title of 
Martin V. The vigour and disinterestedness shown 
by Blessed John at that crisis restored peace to the 

At the request of the Emperor, the holy man was 
now sent as Apostolic Legate to Hungary and to 
Bohemia, then much disturbed by the heretical fol- 
lowers of John Huss and Jerome of Prague. In this 
mission he did much to confirm the people in their 
adhesion to the true faith and to encourage them in 
offering a determined resistance to the encroachments 
of the Turks. Whilst thus engaged, he fell sick at 
Buda, and, strengthened by the holy Sacraments of 
the Church, piously fell asleep in the Lord on the loth 
June, A.D. 1420, leaving behind him many learned 
writings. His tomb was desecrated by the Turks 
when they took and sacked Buda. He was beatified 
by Gregory XVI. 


O God, the bestower of divine love, who didst 
strengthen Blessed John, Thy Confessor and Bishop, 
for the work of preserving the Unity of the Church and 

1 74 Dominican Saints 

June 10 establishing regular discipline; grant, through his inter- 
cession, that we may all be of one mind and do all 
our actions in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who liveth and 
reigneth with Thee world without end. Amen. 

JUNE 12 

Blessed Stepben Bandelli, Confessor 

(A.D. 1369-1450) 

June 12 BLESSED STEPHEN was born about A.D. 1369, at 
Castelnuovo in the north-west of Italy, and entered 
the Order of Saint Dominic at an early age. He was 
a model of prayer and penance, and of every religious 
virtue, and excelled also in learning, becoming an 
eminent canonist and theologian, and teaching with 
great fruit in the University of Pavia. But his chief 
renown was as a preacher, and for many years he 
devoted himself to this ministry with such success, 
that many hesitated not to compare him to the Apostle 
Saint Paul. The people flocked round his pulpit, and 
he drew an almost countless multitude of sinners to 
repentance, and induced many to forsake the vanities 
of the world and embrace the religious state. God 
confirmed his preaching by a great number of miracles. 
It is much to be regretted that so few details have 
been preserved of the life of this holy man, who 
evidently occupied a very distinguished position in 
his own day. 

Worn out by labour and old age, Blessed Stephen 
died at the Convent of Saluzzo on June n, A.D. 1450; 
and the multitude of pictures and ex-votos hung 
around his tomb testify to the many graces granted 
through his intercession. In the year 1487, the city 
of Saluzzo was besieged and on the point of falling 

Dominican Saints 175 

into the hands of the enemy, when it was miraculously June 12 
delivered by the appearance on the ramparts of our 
Blessed Lady and a Dominican Friar, universally 
believed to be Blessed Stephen. The anniversary of 
this wonderful deliverance is still commemorated at 
Saluzzo by an annual festival. Blessed Stephen Bandelli 
was beatified by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst make Blessed Stephen, Thy 
Confessor, an eminent preacher of the Gospel for 
calling back wanderers to the path of salvation, grant 
us, by his intercession, that, delivered from all our sins, 
we may ever run in the way of Thy commandments. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

JUNE 18 

Blessed Osatina, Virgin 

(A.D. 1449-1505) 

BLESSED OSANNA was born of wealthy and honour- June 18 
able parents at Mantua, in the north of Italy, A.D. 1449. 
When she was only six years old, the family went to 
spend the summer in the country. One day as little 
Osanna was wandering alone in the meadows by the 
river-side, an angel appeared to her and instructed her 
in the love of God, saying to her: "See how every 
creature proclaims with all its might, ' Love God, all 
ye dwellers on the earth, for He hath made all things 
in order to win your love.'" Soon afterwards our 
Lord Himself met her on the same spot in the form 
of a lovely child, with a crown of thorns upon His 
head, and bearing on His shoulders a heavy cross. 
"My beloved child," said He to Osanna, "I am the 

176 Dominican Saints 

June 1 8 Son of the Virgin Mary and thy Creator. I have 
always loved children, because their hearts are pure. 
I willingly admit virgins as My spouses ; I guard their 
virginity; and when they call upon me with the 
words, *O Good Jesus/ I instantly come to their 
assistance." This vision was the call to Osanna to 
follow her Divine Spouse in the path of His sufferings, 
and she responded to it by an act of entire consecra- 
tion of herself to His will. 

It was her ardent desire to dedicate herself solemnly 
to God's service in some monastery ; but, after many 
negotiations for this object had failed, it was revealed 
to her that she was not to enter the cloister, but to 
sanctify herself in the world as a Tertiary of our Holy 
Order. This determination caused great grief to her 
parents ; nor was it until a dangerous illness had 
brought her to the brink of the grave that they would 
consent to her receiving the habit, which she at last 
did at the age of fourteen. It was not, however, per- 
mitted to her for a long series of years to make her 
solemn profession. She constantly longed for this 
happiness, but, understanding that the obstacles which 
were continually raised against it were ordained by 
God for her greater perfection, she humbly submitted 
herself to His Divine will. It was not until she had 
attained the age of fifty-five, that, in the last year of her 
life, she at length publicly bound herself by the vows 
of religion. She had, however, at the time of her 
clothing, made a private vow of obedience, and would 
never do the slightest thing without the leave of those 
who were placed over her. 

Blessed Osanna was favoured with continual raptures 
and ecstasies in prayer, which she was unable to con- 
ceal from the busy eye of the curious, and these 
heavenly favours were made a constant subject of re- 
proof and persecution. The other Tertiaries persisted 

Dominican Saints 177 

in regarding them as nothing but a voluntary affectation June 18 
of sanctity, and threatened to deprive her of the habit 
unless they ceased. They also murmured greatly 
because, as the fame of her sanctity spread, persons 
of rank thronged about her to ask her counsel or to 
gratify their curiosity. But Osanna's patience and 
humility were never in the least disturbed. Her 
Divine Spouse had made known to her, as in earlier 
times to Saint Catharine of Siena, and later to Blessed 
Margaret Mary, the secret of His Heart ; and we are 
expressly told that it was to that never-failing foun- 
tain of consolation that she had recourse whenever 
tribulation pressed heavily upon her. And, when pre- 
vented from approaching the Sacrament of Penance 
as often as she would have wished, she confessed her 
daily frailties to her good Jesus, as she loved to call 

The nuptials with the Beloved of her soul, which 
she so ardently desired to accomplish by her pro- 
fession, and which were in that manner delayed for so 
many years, were mystically solemnized in the presence 
of the Mother of God and the whole court of Heaven. 
This and other spiritual favours more and more in- 
creased the fire of Divine love which burnt within her 
and filled her with an equally ardent desire to suffer. 
Grieving that she could not be more conformed to the 
likeness of her crucified Lord, she one day cast herself 
at His feet, exclaiming : " O my only Love ! Must 
the thorns then be for Thee alone ; for Thee alone the 
nails and the cross ; and for me sweetness and con- 
solation ? Ah ! not so. I will not share Thy glory 
unless Thou make me also share Thy pains." And 
thus for two years she incessantly besought the 
Eternal Goodness to grant her that which her soul 
longed after, a conformity of suffering. Then at 
length the crown of thorns was granted to her, and, 


178 Dominican Saints 

June 18 later on, the sacred Stigmata. At each of these 
heavenly favours, the agony of her mortal frame in- 
creased to an almost inconceivable extent; yet still 
she was not satisfied. A longing arose in her heart 
to share in those unknown and awful sufferings which 
filled the heart of Jesus whilst He hung upon the 
Cross. Then, in answer to her prayer, her Divine 
Spouse plunged into her loving heart a long and terrible 
nail. The agony of this transfixion must have caused 
her death, had not the same Divine hand relieved her ; 
but this cutting and dividing of her heart was often 
repeated in after years, in answer to her unsatisfied 
entreaties. During this life of mysterious suffering, 
Osanna ceased not to labour for the souls of others 
by prayer and works of charity, and often offered 
her body and soul to God to receive the chastisement 
due to inveterate sinners or to the poor souls in pur- 

Her approaching death was announced to her four 
years previously by Blessed Columba of Rieti, who 
appeared to her in great glory at the moment of her 
own departure out of this life. 

The death of Blessed Osanna took place on the 1 8th 
of June, A.D. 1505. Three years afterwards her body 
was still incorrupt. Leo X. gave permission for her 
feast to be celebrated in the diocese of Mantua, and 
this privilege was extended to the Dominican Order by 
Innocent XII. 


Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, that, as we 
rejoice in celebrating the memory of Blessed Osanna 
Thy Virgin, we may be instructed likewise in all feel- 
ings of tender devotion. Through Christ our Lord. 

Dominican Saints 179 

JUNE 22 

Blessed Innocent V+, Pope and Confessor 

(A.D. 1225-1276) 

BLESSED INNOCENT V., known before his elevation June 22 
to the Papacy by the name of Peter of Tarantaise, was 
born of noble parents at that town, situated at the 
foot of the Alps, on the confines of Savoy, a territory 
then dependent on the Dukes of Burgundy, about A.D. 
1225. Whilst still quite a child, he was sent to study 
at the University of Paris, where he received the 
Dominican habit from the hands of Blessed Jordan, 
the second Master-General of the Order of Preachers, 
when only nine years old. He is believed to have been 
one of those young postulants admitted on occasion of 
the General Chapter of 1234. To the remonstrances of 
the capitular Fathers, who complained that these chil- 
dren were so ignorant of Latin as scarcely to be able 
to read a lesson of Matins even after much previous 
preparation, the holy Master-General gently replied : 
" Suffer these little ones to come, and forbid them not. 
Know that you will see many, yea, most of them, 
acquit themselves gloriously of the office of preaching ; 
and God will make use of them for the work of saving 
souls, in preference to many others of cultured mind." 
In none was this prophecy more brilliantly fulfilled 
than in little Peter of Tarantaise. To extraordinary 
beauty of person he joined the highest gifts of mind 
and heart ; and in the shadow of the cloister, like the 
child Jesus in the holy house at Nazareth, he daily 
" grew in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and 
men." When only twenty-eight, he was judged cap- 
able of teaching theology in the University at the same 

i8o Dominican Saints 

June 22 time as his intimate friend, Saint Thomas Aquinas ; 
and we are particularly told that his merit was not in 
the least eclipsed by that of the Angel of the Schools. 
He also composed Commentaries on the Four Books 
of the Sentences of Peter the Lombard and on Holy 
Scripture, and other learned works, which in their 
day were scarcely less prized than those of Saint 
Thomas himself. Hence, in the year 1259, ne was 
chosen with Blessed Albert the Great, Saint Thomas, 
and two other distinguished religious, to draw up a 
general plan of studies to be followed in all Dominican 

At the age of forty, his rare prudence, his knowledge 
of men, his admirable meekness, and his invincible 
firmness, caused him to be elected Provincial of his 
Order in the Province of France, which then num- 
bered some fifty Convents. His journeys in the 
visitation of his Province were always made on foot, 
with the simplicity of a poor Friar; he everywhere 
diffused the good odour of his virtues and kept alive 
primitive fervour and zeal for souls in the hearts of 
his Brethren. Meanwhile, the masters and students 
at the University of Paris, who deeply regretted his 
absence, earnestly begged to have him back amongst 
them. The General Chapter of the Order granted 
their petition, and Father Peter returned to Paris, 
where he took his doctor's degree and succeeded Saint 
Thomas at the head of the School. In the year 1269, 
however, he was re-elected Provincial. Three years 
later, Blessed Gregory X., who then filled the Chair of 
Saint Peter and who had formerly been one of his 
pupils at Paris, appointed him Archbishop of Lyons 
and Primate of France. A few months later he raised 
him to the dignity of Cardinal at the same time as the 
great Franciscan, Saint Bonaventure, and made him 
Bishop of Ostia and Velletri and Dean of the sacred 

Dominican Saints 181 

College, commanding him to continue the administra- June 22 
tion of the Archdiocese of Lyons until the nomination 
of his successor in that see. 

The saintly Pontiff employed the new Cardinal to 
assist him in making preparations for the General 
Council which he had convoked at Lyons, for the pur- 
pose of effecting a re-union between the Greek and 
Latin Churches, and organising a fresh Crusade for 
the recovery of the Holy Land. The Council opened 
on May 7, A.D. 1274. Cardinal Peter of Tarantaise 
took a distinguished part in its proceedings and dis- 
played an extraordinary talent for business. He was 
specially charged with all that concerned the re-union 
of the Greeks with the Latins, and succeeded in induc- 
ing the ambassadors of the Greek Emperor to submit 
to the faith and authority of the Roman Church. It 
fell to his lot to preach the funeral sermon of his friend 
and colleague, Saint Bonaventure, who died at Lyons 
during the Council; and he did so with a touching 
eloquence which caused the whole of his audience to 
mingle their tears with his own. 

In January, A.D. 1276, Blessed Gregory X. died, 
and Cardinal Peter of Tarantaise was unanimously 
elected as his successor, assuming the name of Inno- 
cent V. The holy man immediately set himself to 
labour zealously for the peace of Christendom, the 
repression of the Moors, who were threatening a fresh 
invasion of Spain, the acceptance by the Greeks of the 
adhesion of their ambassadors to reunion with the 
Roman Church, and the undertaking of a fresh Crusade 
against the infidels. Such splendid beginnings excited 
the greatest hopes for the new Pontificate, but it was 
doomed to be of brief duration. On June 22nd, an 
attack of malignant fever closed the holy Pontiff's 
career; he had sat in the Chair of Peter only five 
months and two days. He was laid to rest in the 

1 82 Dominican Saints 

June 22 Lateran Basilica, and rendered himself illustrious by a 
host of miracles. Pope Leo XIII. raised him to the 
Altars of the Church, A.D. 1898. 


O God, who didst adorn Blessed Innocent, Confessor 
and Pope, with the gifts of knowledge and prudence, 
and didst make him a promoter of peace and unity, 
grant us through his intercession to seek the things 
that are above, and with one accord to strive after all 
good. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed mark of Iftodena, Confessor 

(A.D. 1498) 

July 3 VERY few details concerning the life of this holy 
servant of God have been preserved. He was born 
at Modena, and entered the Order of Preachers at an 
early age. Taking his holy Father, Saint Dominic, as 
the model of his life, he devoted himself to prayer and 
contemplation, practised severe austerities, and was 
most exact even in the smallest observances prescribed 
by the Constitutions. He became renowned for sacred 
science, and preached the Word of God with much 
fruit of souls in various parts of Italy. He also wrote 
some useful spiritual books. Becoming Prior of the 
Convent of Pesaro, he was a beautiful example of every 
religious virtue to his Community, and was venerated 
by the people as a Saint. 

On one occasion he was sent for by a lady who had 
just lost a little son of only three or four years old. 
"Weep not," said he to the afflicted mother; "your 
little one is in heaven. Do not wish to have him 

Dominican Saints 183 

back again, for you would lose him a second time, and July 3 
in a more distressing manner." But as the lady would 
not listen to reason, the servant of God betook himself 
to prayer. Then, taking the child by the hand, he 
cried out in a loud voice : " In the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, arise." The child instantly sat up, and 
Blessed Mark restored him to his mother full of health 
and vigour. But ten years later he died of the plague 
in much suffering. 

After undergoing immense labours for the glory of 
God and the salvation of souls, full of merits and good 
works, and worn out by age and sickness, Blessed 
Mark slept the sleep of the just, pressing to his heart 
as he died the image of his crucified Master, whom he 
had tenderly loved throughout his whole life. His 
holy and happy death took place on the 2ist of 
September, A.D. 1498. Later on, his remains were 
translated to the Chapel of the Holy Rosary, on which 
occasion a delicious odour perfumed the church, and 
the bells rang out miraculously to the wonder of all. 
It became customary to expose his relics to public 
veneration every year on Whit-Monday, and lamps 
were kept burning day and night before his picture, 
which hung beside his tomb. Pius IX. set the seal of 
the Church to the veneration which had thus been 
rendered to Blessed Mark from time immemorial. 


O God, who by the ministry of Blessed Mark, Thy 
Confessor, didst lead back many wanderers to the path 
of justice, grant that we also, through his intercession, 
being set free from our vices, may be able happily to 
attain to eternal joys. Through Christ our Lord. 

184 Dominican Saints 


Blessed Benedict XL, Pope and Confessor 

(A.D. 1240-1304) 

July 7 NICHOLAS BOCCASINO, who assumed the name of 
Benedict XI. when raised to the Pontifical dignity, was 
born of poor parents at Treviso in Italy, A.D. 1240. 
He received his early education from an uncle, who 
held the office of parish priest, and at the age of 
fourteen he was admitted into the Dominican Order at 
Venice. The next fourteen years of his life were 
devoted to prayer and study, after which he was 
employed in teaching sacred science to his Brethren. 
He never allowed his lessons to interfere with his 
exercises of piety or to prevent him from teaching the 
Word of God ; and he also found time to write some 
learned commentaries on various parts of Scripture, 
and other valuable works. 

After successively filling the offices of Sub- Prior and 
Prior and that of Provincial of Lombardy, he was 
unanimously elected General of the Order, A.D. 1296. 
During the two years and a half that he held this 
charge, the holy General ceased not to visit the Con- 
vents of the Order, always travelling on foot and 
encouraging his companions to face danger and fatigue 
by exclaiming : " Come, dearest Brethren, this is the 
glory of our Order." Rigid and austere to himself, he 
was the gentlest of religious Superiors towards his 
subjects. Contemporary historians call him "the 
lover of the Community," and are never weary of 
praising his virtues, and above all, his singular humi- 
lity of heart. 

In January A.D. 1299, Pope Boniface VIII., whose 

Dominican Saints 185 

cause he had stoutly defended, created him Cardinal July 7 
Priest of the title of Santa Sabina. " Holy Father," he 
exclaimed, throwing himself at the Pope's feet, " why 
have you laid so heavy a burden upon me ? " " God 
has a yet heavier one in store for you," was the pro- 
phetic reply. Two years later, he was promoted to 
the bishopric of Ostia and Velletri, made Dean of the 
Sacred College, and sent as Legate to Hungary, which 
was at that time in a very disturbed condition. On 
his return to Italy, he found the Pope surrounded by 
enemies, the creatures of Philip the Fair of France, 
and had the glory of standing by the Holy Father's 
side at Anagni in company with only one other 
Cardinal, when he was brutally assaulted and dragged 
from his throne. The Cardinal of Santa Sabina suc- 
ceeded in stirring up the inhabitants of Anagni to 
expel the sacrilegious rebels from their town, but the 
Pope did not long survive the outrages he had received, 
dying almost immediately after his return to Rome. 

The Cardinals assembled in conclave eleven days 
after the death of Boniface, and unanimously elected 
Cardinal Nicholas Boccasino as his successor, A.D. 
1303. He assumed the name of Benedict out of 
veneration for his predecessor, who had borne that 
name before his elevation to the Papacy, and took for 
his motto those words of the Psalmist : " Make Thy 
face to shine upon Thy servant" (Ps. cxviii. 135). 
Europe was in a very troubled state at the commence- 
ment of the new Pontificate ; but the admirable pru- 
dence and energy of the Pontiff did much for the 
restoration of peace and order. In particular, he suc- 
ceeded in reconciling France with the Holy See and 
in restoring the Papal authority in Sicily and Denmark; 
and he greatly exerted himself to induce the princes of 
Christendom to lay aside their mutual differences and 
engage in a crusade against the infidels. 

1 86 Dominican Saints 

July 7 Shortly after his elevation to the Pontifical throne, 
his mother came to pay him a visit. The magistrates 
of Perugia, where he was then residing, on hearing of 
her arrival, received her with great pomp, arrayed 
her in costly apparel, and conducted her to the Papal 
presence. But, when the Holy Pontiff saw his mother 
richly dressed and accompanied by a splendid retinue, 
he refused to recognise her, saying : " My mother was 
only a poor washerwoman, and not a princess like this." 
Then she retired, laid aside her silk garments, and 
returned in the humble garb of a peasant woman. 
When Benedict saw her thus, he came down from his 
throne to meet her, embraced her tenderly, and showed 
her every mark of respect and affection. 

Benedict's reign, marked with vigour, justice, and 
clemency, unhappily lasted only eight months. His 
death, which took place at Perugia on the 7th of July, 
A.D. 1304, was believed to be the effect of poison, 
given him in some figs which had been presented to 
him by an unknown person. He was buried in the 
church of his Order at Perugia, and many miracles 
were worked at his tomb. He was beatified by Pope 
Clement XII. 


O God, who by the grace of Thy benediction didst 
raise the Blessed Benedict, Thy chief Bishop, to heaven, 
sanctify Thy people, we beseech Thee, with a new 
benediction of Thy grace, and, through his prayers 
and merits, defend us by Thy power from all the evils 
that threaten us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 187 


Saint 3of)ii of Cologne and bis Companions, 
tfte Iftartprs of Gorcum 

(A.D. 1572) 

THE holy champions of the faith whom the Church July 9 
honours under the title of the Martyrs of Gorcum, 
suffered for the faith in Holland, A.D. 1572. At that 
time, the whole country was overrun by the Calvinists, 
who had rebelled alike against the dominion of Spain 
and the authority of the Church. They succeeded 
in making themselves masters of the town of Gorcum 
and caused all the clergy and religious of the place to 
be cast into prison. Father John of Cologne, of the 
Order of Preachers, having obtained permission of his 
Superiors to minister to the wants of the faithful, thus 
bereft of all spiritual assistance, was then exercis- 
ing the functions of parish priest in the neighbouring 
village of Hornar, and was in the habit of visiting 
Gorcum for the purpose of administering the Sacra- 
ments. On one of these occasions, having undertaken 
the journey in order to baptize an infant, he was seized 
and imprisoned with the others. Every cruelty which 
their inhuman enemies could devise was resorted to in 
order to induce the captives to renounce their faith, 
especially with regard to the real presence of our Lord 
in the Holy Eucharist and the Papal supremacy, or to 
tempt them at least to some act of disobedience to 
the Church's laws. After keeping them for some time 
without food, nothing but meat was set before them, the 
day purposely chosen being Friday. All the prisoners 
except one preferred running the risk of starvation to 
disobeying the precept of the Church; and the one 

1 88 Dominican Saints 

July 9 w ho yielded was not of the number of those nineteen 
who afterwards obtained the crown of martyrdom. 
The soldiers presented a loaded pistol at the mouth of 
Nicholas Poppel, the second parish priest of Gorcum, 
bidding him now, if he dared, profess that faith which 
he had been wont to preach so boldly. The servant 
of God, nothing daunted, made an open profession of 
his belief; then, thinking his last moments had come, 
he cried out with a loud voice : " Into Thy hands, 
O Lord, I commend my spirit." His tormentors con- 
tented themselves for the present, however, with hang- 
ing him up and letting him fall again repeatedly, till he 
was half-strangled. They inflicted the same cruelty on 
Nicholas Pick, the Father Guardian of the Franciscans ; 
and, when the rope broke and he fell apparently life- 
less to the ground, they applied lighted candles to his 
head and face, from the effects of which, when he after- 
wards revived, he suffered great agony. The soldiers 
repeatedly beat their victims in the most barbarous 
manner, not even sparing one of the Friars who was 
decrepit from extreme old age, and who, at every blow 
that he received, answered only: "Thanks be to God." 
They took away nearly all their clothes, leaving them 
exposed to the cold night-air almost without covering. 
After a cruel captivity of about ten days, the pri- 
soners were removed by water to Bril, suffering in- 
numerable insults and hardships during the passage. 
On their arrival, they were made to walk in procession 
through the town and round the gallows erected in the 
market-place. The holy martyrs sang, as they went 
along, the Litanies, the Salve Regina, the Te Deum, 
and the Stabat Mater, amidst the mockery and the 
blasphemies of the spectators. They were then thrown 
into a dark and loathsome dungeon, where a secular 
priest and two Fathers of the Premonstratensian Order 
were joined to their number. 

Dominican Saints 189 

Meantime the relations of the Father Guardian, July 9 
themselves infected with heretical opinions, were 
making every effort to obtain his liberation and that of 
the other prisoners, since, like a good shepherd, he 
steadily refused to accept his own release, unless his 
Brethren also might be set free together with him. 
Life and liberty were accordingly offered to all the 
prisoners, on the sole condition of renouncing their 
allegiance to the Pope; and, when they indignantly 
rejected the infamous proposal, a hasty order was 
given for their execution. During the night between 
the 8th and 9th of July, they were led to a large barn 
outside the town, making their confessions to one 
another as they went. In this place they were all 
hanged, to the number of nineteen, namely, one 
Dominican, eleven Franciscans, two Premonstraten- 
sians (one of whom had previously fallen from the 
faith, but had made generous reparation for his fall), 
one Canon Regular of Saint Augustine, and four 
secular priests. The history of one of these last also 
presented a signal instance of the mercy of God and 01 
His secret judgments ; for he had led a scandalous 
life, which he expiated by the heroism of his death ; 
whereas another parish priest of irreproachable life, 
who had been arrested with him, failed in courage and 
perseverance and missed the martyr's crown. Another 
of the sufferers, an old man of seventy, Godfrey 
Duneus by name, was half-witted, yet he endured his 
captivity with extraordinary courage and generosity; 
and when at the last moment, by reason of his infirmity 
of mind, he was unconditionally offered his liberty, he 
refused, exclaiming : " I see the heavens open ! I long 
to be with my brethren." And, the last of that heroic 
band, he passed to his reward. 

After the death of the martyrs, the soldiers cut and 
mangled their bodies in the most inhuman manner; 

19 Dominican Saints 

July 9 but, that same night, God was pleased to make known 
the glory of His servants to some of their friends at 
Gorcum, who were so far from suspecting what was 
going on at Bril, that they even entertained well- 
grounded hopes of the liberation of the prisoners. A 
pious citizen of Gorcum, by name Matthias Thoran, was 
in the habit of rising every night to pray for the wel- 
fare of the State. As he was practising his customary 
devotions at about four o'clock in the morning of the 
9th of July, he beheld this blessed troop of martyrs, 
clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their 
heads, and resplendent with glory. When day was 
come, he told his fellow-citizens the vision which had 
been granted him. A similar favour was vouchsafed 
on the same night to another inhabitant of Gorcum ; so 
that the death of the martyrs was publicly known and 
spoken of amongst the Catholics of that town long 
before the arrival of the messenger who brought the 
tidings from Bril. A beautiful shrub sprang up on the 
scene of their martyrdom, bearing nineteen fair white 
blossoms. Many miracles have been granted through 
the intercession of the Martyrs of Gorcum and the 
application of their relics, specially in cases of hernia, 
a malady from which some of them had suffered when 
on earth. They were beatified by Clement X., A.D. 
1674, and solemnly canonized by Pius IX. on the Feast 
of Saints Peter and Paul, A.D. 1867, in the presence of 
upwards of three hundred Bishops, assembled in the 
Eternal City to celebrate the eighteenth centenary of 
the martyrdom of the Princes of the Apostles. 


O God, who didst crown with the wreath of immor- 
tality the strife of Thy blessed Martyrs, John and his 
companions, for the faith, mercifully grant that, fight- 
ing here on earth, we may likewise deserve, through 

Dominican Saints 191 

their merits and after their example, to be crowned July 9 
with them in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. 

JULY 11 

Blessed Ignatius Delgado and Dominic ftenares, 
Bisbops, and their Companions, martprs 

(A.D. 1838, 1839, 1840) 

OF the glorious band of seventy-seven martyrs beati- July n 
fied by Pope Leo XIII. on May 27, in the holy year 
of Jubilee, 1900, twenty-six are assigned in the 
Apostolic Brief to the Order of Preachers, nineteen 
by actual profession, and the remaining seven by 
their connection with the Dominican mission of 
Eastern Tonquin. They are often spoken of as the 
Martyrs of the Annamite Church, the name of Annam 
having been formerly applied to a larger extent of 
country than at the present day ; and they suffered 
in the persecution which raged during the years 1838, 

1839, and 1840. 

The leaders of the heroic company were two 
Dominican prelates, Blessed Ignatius Delgado, Bishop 
of Melipotamus 1 and Vicar Apostolic of Eastern Ton- 
quin, and his coadjutor, Blessed Dominic Henares, 
Bishop of Fesseita and Pro-Vicar Apostolic of the 

i English Catholics will be interested in noting, that, when our own 
venerated Cardinal Wiseman was raised to the Episcopate, June 8, 

1840, as coadjutor to Bishop Walsh of the Central District, it was 
under this same title, " chosen by him, as we learn from a memorandum, 
in commemoration of the martyrdom of a Vicar Apostolic of Ton- 
quin . . . not," he adds, " that he thought himself worthy of such a 
title, but that he might ever enjoy the patronage and example of so 
illustrious and good a pastor" (" Life and Times of Cardinal Wise- 
man," i. p. 336). As not quite two years had then elapsed from the 
date of Blessed Ignatius's martyrdom, Dr. Wiseman was presumably 
his immediate successor in the title of Bishop of Melipotamus. 

i9 2 Dominican Saints 

July ii same district. Both were Spaniards by birth, and 
both had laboured in Tonquin for nearly half a 
century, having arrived there in 1/90 and been in- 
vested with the Episcopal dignity shortly afterwards. 

At the outbreak of the persecution in 1838, the 
two venerable prelates were on the point of conceal- 
ing themselves in a large cavern which had been 
arranged as a hiding-place, when they were betrayed 
into the hands of the soldiers who had been sent in 
search of them. Blessed Dominic managed on that 
occasion to escape; but Blessed Ignatius, who was 
very infirm, was seized and carried away in a cage, 
which was so small that it was impossible for him 
to stand upright in it. On approaching the city of 
Nam-Dinh, where a great concourse of people awaited 
his arrival, he beheld a crucifix laid across the en- 
trance to be trampled on by all who passed through 
the gates. Pierced with grief at the sight, he in- 
sisted so earnestly on its removal that he was obeyed ; 
but, as soon as his cage had been borne into the 
city, the sacred image was replaced on the ground, 
so that the faithful who were following their Bishop 
in great numbers on his way of sorrows were un- 
able to enter. 

Meanwhile Blessed Dominic had also been captured 
and imprisoned in a cage ; and he was now brought, 
together with his faithful catechist, Blessed Francis 
Chien or Chieu, to the same city. For a few moments 
the two holy Bishops and the Blessed Father Joseph 
Fernandez, Vicar- Provincial of the Order in Tonquin, 
who had also been seized, were confronted with each 
other and able to exchange a few words in their 
native tongue. Blessed Dominic and his catechist 
were the first to suffer martyrdom, being beheaded 
June 25, 1838. On the following July 12, Blessed 
Ignatius died in his cage of hunger and thirst and 

Dominican Saints 193 

exposure to the rays of a burning sun. The in- July n 
human governor caused the sentence of decapitation, 
which had already been pronounced on the venerable 
old man, to be executed on his lifeless body. 

There suffered also in this same persecution eight 
native priests of the Order, who appear to have 
made their noviciate in the Philippine Islands, and 
eight devout Tertiaries, of whom four were catechists, 
one was a doctor, another a tailor, and two were 
peasants. Faithful to their vocation, these holy mem- 
bers of the Third Order whilst in prison converted 
and baptized a hundred of their fellow-captives. Some 
of these native martyrs were subjected to the most 
horrible torments that oriental cruelty could devise ; 
and one of the catechists, the Blessed Thomas Toan, 
naturally of a weak and irresolute character, when 
put to the torture, twice renounced the faith, and 
twice returned to it. After his second apostasy his 
remorse bordered on despair; but happily for him, 
there was in the same prison a priest (probably the 
Blessed Joseph Hien, O.P., afterwards a martyr) 
who consoled and absolved him. From that moment 
Blessed Thomas was filled with heroic courage, and 
at every fresh insult and torment did but repeat: 
" I have sinned against my God ; He has forgiven 
me; henceforth I must be for ever faithful to Him." 
He was starved to death in prison, passing to his 
reward June 27, 1840. 

To these we must add three native secular priests 
belonging to the Vicariate and three soldiers. The 
soldiers, after having courageously undergone many 
sufferings for the faith for the space of a whole 
year, at length miserably consented to trample on 
the cross. There are some grounds for believing 
that they were not wholly responsible for the act, 
which was committed, so it is said, under the in- 


194 Dominican Saints 

July ii fluence of a potion which had been administered 
to them. Be this as it may, the poor men were 
broken-hearted when they realised what they had 
done; and, as the governor refused to accept their 
retractation, two of them made their way to the king 
at Hue, boldly declared themselves to be Christians, 
and by his command were sawn asunder on board 
a ship. The third, who was too ill to travel, sent 
a written retractation by the hands of his comrades, 
and by the royal orders was strangled. 

Prayer 1 

May the glorious examples of Thy Blessed Martyrs, 
Ignatius, Dominic, and their companions, so strengthen 
us in Thy service, O Lord, that we may deserve to 
attain to eternal joys. Through Christ our Lord. 

JULY 13 

Blessed James of Voragine, Bislwp 
and Confessor 

(A.D. 1230-1298) 

July 13 BLESSED JAMES was born in the little village of 
Voragine, also called Varazzo, not far from Genoa. 
He entered the Order of Saint Dominic at the early 
age of fourteen, and devoted himself to the acquisition 
alike of learning and of sanctity, making marvellous 
progress in both. After teaching theology in various 
places, he was sent to preach throughout Northern 
Italy. Such was his eloquence and such the purity 
with which he spoke his mother tongue, that he took 

1 This prayer was said in the Mass at Saint Peter's on the day of 
their Beatification. 

Dominican Saints 195 

his place at once in the foremost rank of Italian orators. July 13 
He was the first to translate the Bible into Italian; 
and he wrote several works, in particular a large and 
valuable book of sermons, a treatise in praise of our 
Blessed Lady, to whom he bore a tender devotion, and 
a collection of Lives of the Saints, known as the 
" Golden Legend," which became the most popular 
book of spiritual reading in the Middle Ages. It was 
translated into various languages, and was perhaps 
more widely diffused than any other work before the 
invention of printing. 

He became Prior of the Convent of Genoa, and when 
only thirty-seven was elected Provincial of Lombardy. 
His appointment to this important post, whilst still so 
young, created some surprise throughout the Order, 
but when the Friars became witnesses of his benevo- 
lence and charity, and of the blessings which his 
wise and saintly administration drew down upon 
the Houses committed to his charge, this feeling of 
surprise was exchanged for one of admiration and 
gratitude, and he continued to hold the office for the 
then unprecedented period of nineteen years. In the 
year 1288, Pope Honorius IV. entrusted to him the 
delicate task of absolving the city of Genoa, in his 
name, from the censures and the interdict which it had 
incurred. Blessed James discharged this mission with 
such prudence and tact as to win all hearts, and not 
long afterwards the Cathedral Chapter unanimously 
elected him as Archbishop. 

Genoa was at this time in a very distracted state, 
torn by the rival factions of the Guelphs and Ghibel- 
lines, the scene of horrible murders and civil war. 
The saintly Archbishop succeeded in re-establishing 
peace and order. He showed himself to be truly the 
father of his people, sparing no labour on their behalf, 
and stripping himself of everything in his boundless 

196 Dominican Saints 

July 13 liberality to the poor. He also bestowed munificent 
benefactions on the hospitals, convents, and churches 
of his diocese. The Crusaders had brought back with 
them, after the capture of Constantinople in 1203, a 
great quantity of holy relics. A portion of those which 
had fallen to the share of Venice passed into the pos- 
session of the Genoese, together with a considerable 
piece of the True Cross. The pious Archbishop suc- 
ceeded in obtaining them, and deposited them in the 
Dominican Church in Genoa, under two tables which 
he plated with silver. 

All through his life, Blessed James had made it his 
study to acquire interior peace, and his soul had 
become, according to the testimony of his contempo- 
raries, a perfect mirror of the happiness of heaven. 
After eight years spent in governing his flock with 
such wisdom and success that most of the Bishops of 
Northern Italy took him for their counsellor and model, 
and adopted his statutes for the reformation of their 
clergy, the saintly Archbishop of Genoa gently fell 
asleep in the Lord in the July of the year 1298. His 
body was laid under the high altar of the Church of 
Saint Dominic in Genoa, where it received the vene- 
ration of the faithful until A.D. 1798, when it was 
translated to the Church of the Friars Preachers at 
Santa Maria di Castello. A fresh and very solemn 
translation took place in the year 1885. 

Blessed James was beatified by Pius VII., A.D. 1816. 


O God, who didst make Blessed James, Thy Con- 
fessor and Bishop, a glorious preacher of the Truth 
and a peacemaker, grant unto us, through his inter- 
cession, that we likewise may love peace and truth, 
and come at length to Thee, in whom is perfect peace 
and purest truth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 197 

JULY 18 

Blessed Ceslas, Confessor 

(A.D. 1184-1242) 

BLESSED CESLAS, the near kinsman and probably the July 18 
brother of another great glory of our Order, St. Hya- 
cinth, belonged to the noble Polish family of the 
Odrowatz, and was born in the castle of his ancestors, 
not far from Breslau, in Silesia. His baptismal name, 
which signifies in his native tongue honour and glory, 
was a presage of his future greatness, and he early 
gave signs of the holiness which he was afterwards to 
attain. The frankness and amiability of his character 
and the spotless purity of his life gave him a singular 
influence for good over his companions. The early 
education of Ceslas and Hyacinth was carried on under 
the superintendence of their uncle, Yvo Odrowatz, 
who afterwards became Bishop of Cracow ; and so dis- 
tinguished were the two young saints for piety and 
diligence that people used to call them " the two sages." 
Later on, Ceslas was sent to Italy to complete his 
studies and take his degree in theology and jurispru- 
dence, which he did with much success. On his 
return to Poland, he embraced the ecclesiastical state, 
as his brother had already done, and was soon made 
Canon of the Cathedral of Cracow and raised to other 
posts of dignity and trust. He employed his ample 
revenues in relieving the poor and his influence in 
redressing grievances and in supporting the cause of 
the weak and the oppressed. 

In the year 1220, Bishop Yvo set out on a journey 
to Rome, taking with him in his retinue his two saintly 
nephews, and also Henry of Moravia and Herman the 

198 Dominican Saints 

July 18 Teutonic. Shortly after their arrival in the Eternal 
City, they witnessed one of Saint Dominic's most 
striking miracles, the raising to life of the young 
Napoleon. Struck with admiration at the prodigy, 
Bishop Yvo conceived the desire of taking back with 
him to Poland some of the sons of the great Patriarch 
in order to establish the Order in his diocese. The 
Saint just at that time had, according to his custom, 
dispersed his children in all directions; moreover, 
none of them were acquainted with the Polish language, 
and he was, therefore, not in a position to meet the 
prelate's wishes. Yvo pressed his request still more 
warmly, insisting that he must have some Friars 
Preachers to labour for the salvation of his flock. 
Then Saint Dominic, yielding to a sudden inspiration, 
exclaimed : " My Lord, you have with you four young 
clerics ; give them to me. I will clothe them with our 
habit, form them to apostolic virtues, and return them 
to you in a short time full of zeal and devotedness." 
The four chosen souls joyfully accepted the will of 
God as manifested to them by the voice of Saint 
Dominic, received the habit from his hands, and soon 
became models of every religious virtue. At the end of 
six months their training was complete ; they were ad- 
mitted to profession and sent to preach the Word of 
God and establish the Order in the countries of the 
North. After assisting in the foundation of the Con- 
vents of Frisach and Cracow, which were soon filled 
with numerous and fervent Communities, Blessed 
Ceslas was sent to plant the Order in Bohemia. He 
received from the king a site for the Convent at 
Prague, and the Community there soon reckoned as 
many as a hundred and twenty-six members. He also 
founded in Bohemia a Monastery for nuns of the Order, 
and then set out for Silesia, where he established 
the Convent of Breslau, which henceforth became his 

Dominican Saints 199 

headquarters, and whence he undertook apostolic July 18 
journeys to evangelise the inhabitants of Central 
Europe and the southern shores of the Baltic. It was 
in the course of these journeys that he became ac- 
quainted with Saint Hedwiges, Duchess of Poland 
and Silesia, who placed herself under his spiritual 

Blessed Ceslas was pre-eminently a man of prayer ; 
he devoted to this holy exercise many hours of the 
day and prolonged his vigils far into the night ; he led 
a most penitential life, afflicting his body by continual 
fasts, disciplines, and other austerities, and taking his 
scanty rest on the bare ground, with a stone or a log 
of wood for his pillow. God was pleased to confirm 
his preaching by the gift of miracles. Coming once to 
the banks of the Oder, he found the river so swollen 
and stormy that the ferrymen absolutely refused to 
carry him across. Like his brother Saint Hyacinth 
under similar circumstances, Blessed Ceslas betook 
himself to prayer ; then he stretched his mantle on the 
raging waters, and, making the sign of the cross, em- 
barked upon it, and in a few minutes safely reached the 
opposite bank, his clothes, and even his mantle, re- 
maining perfectly dry. He cured great numbers who 
were sick of various diseases and raised four dead per- 
sons to life. The most remarkable of these miracles 
was that which e worked on a boy, the only son of 
his mother, whom he raised from the dead after he had 
been eight days drowned. 

When the savage Tartars besieged Breslau about 
A.D. 1241, the terrified inhabitants took refuge in the 
fortress, and Blessed Ceslas and his Community fasted 
and prayed incessantly, in the hope of averting the 
anger of God from the city. One day when the enemy 
was attacking the walls, the servant of God came upon 
the ramparts, crucifix in hand, exhorting the besieged 

200 Dominican Saints 

July 18 to put their trust in God. Suddenly he was seen to 
be encompassed with light, and over his head appeared 
an immense globe of fire, whence issued burning darts 
which fell upon the enemy, killing some and blinding 
others. The panic-struck Tartars threw down their 
arms and fled in wild confusion ; some of them were 
converted by the prodigy and received baptism to- 
gether with their prince. 

A few months after this miraculous event, Blessed 
Ceslas was seized with his last illness. After making 
a touching exhortation to his Brethren, in which he 
reminded them that all monastic observances are of 
no value unless based on humility and self-renuncia- 
tion, he clasped his crucifix and fervently exclaimed : 
" Lord, Thou hast been the sole object of my desires ; 
deign in return to admit me to Thy Divine embraces." 
The glorious Mother of God, whom he had tenderly 
loved, solaced him in his last moments and conducted 
him to the joys of heaven on the i6th of July, A.D. 

That same night he appeared, in company with the 
holy Apostles, to a Dominican nun, and told her, that, 
in reward of his labours in preaching the gospel, he 
had been numbered in their ranks. Many prodigies 
were worked at his tomb, whence issued a miracu- 
lous dust which healed many diseases, specially head- 
aches and fevers. Blessed Ceslas was beatified by 
Clement XL 


O God, who didst endow the Blessed Ceslas with 
virginal purity of manners and a burning zeal for the 
salvation of souls, and didst render him wonderful to 
the people of divers nations for his holy actions and 
the grace of propagating the faith ; grant, we beseech 
Thee, at his intercession, that we may be ever stead- 

Dominican Saints 201 

fast in the faith, and be enabled, through the gift of July 18 
Thy mercy, to come at length to Thee, who alone art 
the author and giver of eternal salvation. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

JULY 22 

Saint IKarp (Ragdalen, Protectress of 
tin Dominican Order 

THE holy penitent, Saint Mary Magdalen, whose July 22 
praise is in the Gospel, has ever been regarded as the 
particular protectress of the children of Saint Dominic, 
and especially of his Third Order. Our Lord Him- 
self assigned her as mistress and patroness to Saint 
Catharine of Siena. It is said to have been she 
who, together with Saint Catharine of Alexandria, ac- 
companied Our Blessed Lady when she brought the 
miraculous picture of our Holy Father to Suriano. 
Innumerable passages in the lives of our Saints testify 
to the love and devotion they bore her. 

Tradition tells us that, in the persecution which 
arose in Jerusalem after the death of Saint Stephen. 
Saint Mary Magdalen, together with her brother, 
Saint Lazarus, her sister, Saint Martha, Saint Maximin, 
who is said to have been one of the seventy-two 
disciples, and others, were placed by the Jews on 
a vessel without oars or sails and entirely destitute of 
provisions, and thus seemed doomed to certain destruc- 
tion. But God's angels were watching over the little 
craft and guided it safely to the shores of Provence. 
The holy company landed at Marseilles, of which city 
Saint Lazarus became the first Bishop. Saint Martha 
founded a community of holy women at Tarrascon; 
and Saint Mary Magdalen and Saint Maximin pro- 

2O2 Dominican Saints 

July 22 ceeded to Aix, where the latter fixed his episcopal See. 
Together they evangelised Provence, preparing them- 
selves for each instruction by prayer and fasting, and 
confirming their testimony by miracles. But the holy 
penitent sighed after a life of solitude, that she might 
sit continually in spirit at those Divine feet which she 
had washed with her tears and anointed with the 
spikenard of great price. Our Lord was well content 
to grant her that " better part," which He had promised 
should " not be taken from her." He is said to have 
sent His angels to conduct her to a wild and solitary 
cave on a mountain-side not far from the shores of the 
Mediterranean, and now known by the name of " La 
Sainte-Baume." Here the Saint spent well-nigh three- 
and-thirty-years in the exercises of penance and con- 
templation, her life being miraculously sustained with- 
out the aid of ordinary food. Saint Vincent Ferrer 
records the tradition that every day, at each of the 
seven hours of prayer, the angels raised her in the air 
to listen to heavenly music and to participate in the 
Divine Banquet. 

At length our Lord appeared to her and sweetly 
invited her, in return for the hospitality she had shown 
Him in His mortal life, to enter into the heavenly 
mansions. She was miraculously conveyed to the 
oratory of Saint Maximin, where the holy Bishop once 
more refreshed her spirit with the Bread of Angels ; 
and immediately after receiving it, she gave up her 
soul to the Master whom she had loved so devotedly. 
Her holy remains were laid to rest in an alabaster 
tomb, in memory of that alabaster vase which twice 
served to guard the perfume with which she anointed 
the Lord. This tomb was in the crypt in which Saint 
Maximin himself was afterwards buried, and the place 
bears his name to this day. 

When,' at the beginning of the eighth century, the Sara- 

Dominican Saints 203 

cens began their ravages in Provence, which continued July 22 
some three hundred years, theCassianite monks, who had 
charge of the sacred relics, carefully concealed the crypt 
beneath a mound of earth, and it was not discovered 
until A.D. 1279. According to a Dominican tradition, 
in that 3^ear the Prince of Salerno, who was a nephew 
of Saint Louis of France, and afterwards became 
Charles II., King of Sicily and Count of Provence, was 
taken prisoner by the king of Aragon and closely con- 
fined in the fortress of Barcelona. By the advice of 
his confessor, who was a Friar Preacher, he commended 
himself earnestly to Saint Mary Magdalen, the patron 
Saint of Provence. That night, which was the eve of 
her feast, the Prince was suddenly awakened from 
sleep and found the Saint standing beside him. She 
bade him rise and follow her, together with his suite. 
She led them safely out of the fortress, and, after they 
had walked for some little time in silence, she turned 
and asked them if they knew where they were. They 
replied that they believed themselves to be close to the 
walls of Barcelona. "Not so," answered the Saint; 
" you are already six miles beyond the Spanish frontier, 
and only one league from Narbonne." Charles threw 
himself at her feet, saying, " What can I do in gratitude 
for this night's deliverance ? " Then she bade him 
search for her relics, telling him that he would find 
them in the Church of Saint Maximin. "You will 
know my body," she said, "by this token; the forehead 
is still preserved with the flesh and skin entire on that 
part which touched our Lord's risen body. You will 
also find two vessels, one full of the hair with which I 
wiped His sacred feet, and another with the blood- 
stained earth I gathered at the foot of the Cross. I 
desire that these precious relics be now given to the 
care of my Brethren, the Friars Preachers, who are 
indeed my brethren, because, like them, I was a 

204 Dominican Saints 

July 22 preacher and an apostle." With these words she 
disappeared ; and when day dawned, the prince found 
that he was indeed close to Narbonne. 

He lost no time in repairing to Saint Maximin, where 
he discovered the sacred relics in a box, bearing an 
inscription to the effect that they had been removed 
thither in the year 710, for fear of the sacrileges of the 
Saracens. Charles then founded a Convent of the 
Order on the spot and entrusted the precious treasures 
to the keeping of the Friars. Not content with this 
testimony of his gratitude to his heavenly deliverer, 
the prince, when he succeeded to his hereditary domi- 
nions, founded no less than twelve Convents of the 
Order, and in all of them it was ordained that a daily 
commemoration should be made of Saint Mary Mag- 
dalen in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. 

The Friars Preachers continued to be the faithful 
guardians of the relics at Saint Maximin and of the 
sanctuary erected at La Sainte-Baume down to the 
time of the French Revolution. After the restoration 
of the French Province of the Order by the celebrated 
Father Lacordaire, the care of these holy places was once 
more entrusted to the sons of Saint Dominic, A.D. 1859. 
Even in our own day they are much-frequented places 
of pilgrimage. 


Grant to us, O most clement Father, that, as the 
Blessed Mary Magdalen, loving our Lord Jesus Christ 
above all things, obtained the pardon of her sins, so 
she may obtain for us from Thy mercy eternal hap- 
piness. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Dominican Saints 205 

JULY 23 

Blessed Jane or Oroieto, Virgin 

(A.D. 1264-1306) 

BLESSED JANE, popularly called Vanna, belonged to July 23 
the peasant class, and was born at Carnajola, near 
Orvieto, in Italy, A.D. 1264. She was left an orphan at 
the age of five, and some of her playfellows told her 
that, now she had neither father nor mother, there was 
no one to care for her. Little Jane immediately led 
them to the church, and pointing to a picture of the 
Guardian Angel, said, " Behold him who will hold the 
place of father and mother to me. I have a better 
parent than you." Divine Providence came to the 
assistance of the little orphan, and she was adopted 
by some members of her family who lived at Orvieto. 
These people were anxious that she should enter the 
married state as soon as her age would permit, but 
Jane's heart had been consecrated from childhood to 
a Heavenly Spouse. To escape their importunity she 
fled to the house of a friend who lived in the country, 
and entered the Third Order of Saint Dominic. 

In the school of the Divine Master she was taught 
the virtues of the religious life, detachment from 
earthly things, patience, obedience, humility, a tender 
charity for the poor and the sick ; above all, an ardent 
love of God. So brightly did this heavenly flame burn 
within her, that, during her long devotions, which 
occupied great part of the day, she could bear only the 
lightest clothing, and the bare mention of the love of 
Jesus, of the maternal goodness of Mary, or of the 
sufferings of a martyr, sufficed to throw her into an 
ecstasy. Every Good Friday but one, during the last 

2o6 Dominican Saints 

July 23 nine years of her life, she was favoured with an extra- 
ordinary rapture, lasting from mid-day until evening, 
during which her body lay stiff and motionless in the 
attitude of the crucifix, and her bones were distinctly 
heard to crack, as though being violently dislocated. 

One Christmas night, as she was grieving that sick- 
ness prevented her from assisting at Midnight Mass 
and receiving the Divine Infant in Holy Communion, 
her little chamber was miraculously flooded with light, 
in the midst of which appeared a white Host, which 
descended into her breast. On another occasion, when 
she was again confined to her bed by illness, our 
Blessed Lady appeared to her, bearing the Divine 
Infant in her arms. "Jane," said the Holy Child, 
"thou canst not to-day receive Me in Holy Com- 
munion, but I am ever thine by grace." 

Blessed Jane strove to conceal from the knowledge 
of all the Divine favours which were lavished upon 
her ; she sincerely regarded herself as the worst of sin- 
ners, and nothing caused her so much pain as to see 
herself treated with respect and veneration. On the 
other hand, she looked upon those who ill-treated her 
as her benefactors. One day, when a woman had 
grossly insulted her, she said, " I am sorry that I am 
so weak as to be unable to do a severe penance for 
this poor woman's sins ; at any rate, I shall have the 
pleasure of saying two hundred Paters and Aves for 
her." Hence it passed into a proverb at Orvieto, that, 
in order to obtain an abundant share in Sister Jane's 
prayers, one must do her some injury. 

She was endowed with the gift of prophecy, and 
amongst other things predicted some of the miracles 
which she was to work after her death. She had to 
endure cruel persecution from the devils, who were 
sometimes suffered to beat and otherwise ill-treat her; 
but she bore all with the utmost courage and patience. 

Dominican Saints 207 

Towards the close of her life, Blessed Jane had the July 23 
happiness of having for her spiritual director Blessed 
James of Bevagna, who was at that time exercising the 
office of Lector and Preacher in the Convent at Orvieto. 
At the beginning of the August of 1301, this holy man 
had occasion to visit the Convent he had founded at 
Bevagna, and there he was attacked by his last illness 
and happily departed to our Lord. On the morning of 
his death, Blessed Jane, who did not even know that 
he was ill, was praying in the Church of the Friars 
at Orvieto, when she saw her holy confessor coming 
towards her. She was greatly rejoiced at the sight, 
and begged him to hear her confession, which he 
accordingly did. He then gave her his belt and his 
knife, to keep in remembrance of him. In the course 
of the afternoon, Blessed Jane sent a small present to 
the Convent by a servant, who brought back word that 
Father James was dying at Bevagna. " Impossible ! " 
said the servant of God, " I saw him in church this 
morning; " and she produced the things which he had 
given her and which the Fathers perfectly recognised 
as having been those used by her saintly director. 
They then despatched messengers to Bevagna, who 
found that Blessed James had indeed died that morn- 
ing, and that his body was lying exposed in the 

Blessed Jane prepared for her own last passage with 
the greatest fervour, and, fortified by the holy Sacra- 
ments of the Church, departed to her Spouse on the 
2$rd of July, A.D. 1306. Many visions and miracles 
bore witness to the glory which she had attained in 
heaven. Fifteen months after her death, when her 
body was removed to a more fitting resting-place, it 
was found perfectly flexible and incorrupt. She was 
beatified by Benedict XIV. 

20 8 Dominican Saints 


July 23 O God, who didst reward by an increase of heavenly 
gifts the singular purity and fervent love of Blessed 
Jane, Thy Virgin, grant that we may so imitate her 
virtues as to be ever pleasing to Thee, by the chas- 
tity of our lives and the purity of all our affections. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

JULY 27 

Blessed Augustine or Bugella, Confessor 

(A.D. 1493) 

July 27 BLESSED AUGUSTINE FANGI was born of noble 
parents at Bugella, also called Biella, in Piedmont, 
in the first half of the fifteenth century, and received 
the Dominican habit at an early age in the convent of 
his native place. He led a life of extreme innocence 
and rigorous penance, and was gifted with an heroic 
patience, of which he gave proof under a terrible 
illness with which he was visited, and in which he was 
covered with ulcers from head to foot. During the 
long and cruel surgical operations to which he was 
subjected, he remained absorbed in prayer, uniting his 
sufferings with those of his Divine Master, and not 
even uttering a groan. His prayer was continual, 
and in it he was often seen raised from the ground 
in extasy. He had the gift of tears, which flowed 
abundantly from his eyes, especially when he was 
saying Mass or reciting Office in Choir. His miracles 
were very numerous, especially in casting out devils. 
He raised to life an infant who had died without 
baptism ; and on one occasion, seeing a boy weeping 
inconsolably for having broken a vessel full of wine, 

Dominican Saints 209 

he was touched with compassion, made the sign of the July 27 
Cross over the fragments, and restored the vessel to 
him, whole and full of wine as before. He governed 
many Convents with much charity and prudence, re- 
storing regular discipline where it had become relaxed, 
and giving a fresh impulse to fervent Communities. 
The success of his preaching and his many miracles 
drew upon him what is ever the most painful portion 
of the Saints the esteem and admiration of men. To 
escape these distasteful honours, he begged to be re- 
moved to some Convent where he was unknown, and 
was accordingly sent to Venice, in which city he passed 
the last ten years of his life. His renown followed 
him, and was transformed after his death into religious 

Blessed Augustine joyfully prepared for his passage 
to eternity by a devout reception of the Sacraments 
and by making acts of fervent love. At length, raising 
himself upon his knees and lifting up his eyes to 
heaven, he cried out with a loud voice : " Praise be to 
God ! praise be to the Most High ! " and, with these 
words on his lips, he expired on the 22nd of July, A.D. 
1493. He was buried in a corner of the Lady Chapel, 
which had been specially dear to him and where 
he had almost daily celebrated Mass, calling it " St. 
Mary's of Paradise." Many miracles were worked at 
his tomb. When it was opened, four years after his 
death, the coffin was found literally swimming in water, 
but the body of the holy man and his garments were as 
fresh and entire as though he had only been buried that 

During the troublous times which ushered in the 
nineteenth century, the Church of Saint Dominic at 
Venice was doomed to destruction to make room for 
public gardens; and the relics of Blessed Augustine 
now repose in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle, 


210 Dominican Saints 

July 27 which is served by the Franciscan Fathers. He was 
beatified by Pius IX. 


Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus, through 
the merits and imitation of Blessed Augustine Thy 
Confessor, so to quench the desires of the flesh by 
penance as ever to grow in Thy grace and in the 
knowledge of Thee. Who livest and reignest with 
God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world 
without end. Amen. 

JULY 28 

Blessed fltitbotip della Cbiesa, Confessor 

(A.D. I39S-I4S9) 

July 28 BLESSED ANTHONY belonged to the noble family 
della Chiesa di Roddi, and was born at San Germano 
in Piedmont, A.D. 1395. From his childhood, his 
heart was set on heavenly things ; but, in deference to 
the wishes of the Marquis his father, he delayed his 
entrance into religion until he had attained the age of 
twenty-two. He then solicited and obtained admission 
into the Convent of the Friars Preachers at Vercelli, 
where he soon became distinguished alike for learning 
and sanctity. When he had been raised to the priest- 
hood, he devoted himself with indefatigable zeal to the 
sacred functions of preaching, hearing confessions, and 
directing souls in the path of perfection, and for many 
years was the companion of Saint Bernardine of Siena 
in his apostolic labours. He had a special gift for con- 
soling the afflicted and for converting obstinate sinners. 
The town of Como was completely changed by his 
apostolic labours, the inhabitants abandoning their 

Dominican Saints 211 

vicious courses and adopting a well-ordered and Chris- July 28 
tian manner of life. 

The humility of Blessed Anthony caused him to hold 
in abhorrence the esteem of men and all honours and 
dignities. He was nevertheless several times com- 
pelled to accept the charge of Prior in various important 
Convents of the Order namely, those of Como, Savona, 
Florence, and Bologna. Into all these Convents he 
introduced wise reforms, causing the Rule to be faith- 
fully observed in every particular and earning for him- 
self the reputation of a prudent and just Superior. 
His countenance was always serene ; he received his 
brethren with kindness, and knew how to compassionate 
human weakness without ceasing to employ the rod of 
correction when circumstances required it. When his 
terms of office were ended, he would raise his hands to 
heaven and joyfully give thanks to God for his release ; 
when re-elected Superior, he was filled with sorrow, 
and would say with a sigh : " Is it possible that I 
should be placed at the helm when I am not even fit to 
manage an oar ? " 

Blessed Anthony had an ardent devotion to our 
Blessed Lady, from whom he received many signal 
favours. On one occasion amongst others, when, rapt 
in ecstasy, he was conversing familiarly with the 
Queen of Heaven, his room was seen flooded with 
light and his own countenance radiant with celestial 
splendour. Another time, when he was going by sea 
with a companion from Savona to Genoa, the ship in 
which he sailed was captured by pirates during the 
night. The two religious, who had no prospect before 
them but that of a hard captivity or a cruel death, 
commended themselves to God and Our Lady; and, 
when morning dawned, the pirates, struck by the 
saintly appearance of their prisoners, set them on shore 
without demanding any ransom. 

212 Dominican Saints 

July 28 Grave authors have recorded the following extra- 
ordinary story in connection with this holy man. One 
night when he had remained in the church after 
Matins, according to his custom, to pray, he heard the 
tramp of horses passing the building. Yielding to a 
sudden inspiration, he unlocked the doors and beheld 
a multitude of horsemen. He asked them who they 
were and whither they were going. Receiving no 
answer and thinking they might be foreigners, he re- 
peated his question in Latin, but still without result. 
The holy man then began to suspect the truth and 
cried in a loud voice : " In the name of Jesus Christ, 
Master of heaven and earth, I command you to tell me 
who you are and whither you are going." Then one 
of the leaders of the party replied that they were 
demons and were going to fetch a certain rich usurer 
who lived in a palace hard by, and who was at the 
point of death. Touched with compassion for the un- 
happy sinner, the servant of God exclaimed : " I shall 
pray so earnestly that, if there be yet time, this man 
shall not belong to you." "Pray as thou wilt," re- 
plied the demons; "thy prayers will be of no avail; 
his sentence is pronounced." "At least," said the 
servant of God, " pass this way on your return, that I 
may know the result." The infernal horsemen pledged 
themselves to do so, and Blessed Anthony began to 
pray with tears for the dying man. In a quarter of an 
hour he again heard the sound of horses' hoofs, and 
beheld the same terrible procession, this time bearing 
with them their unhappy victim, bound hand and foot, 
on a hideous black horse. When day dawned, two 
well-dressed persons presented themselves at the Con- 
vent, begging Father Anthony to come and console a 
family whose father had died during the night. On 
reaching the house, he was requested to allow the 
interment to take place in his church and to pronounce 

Dominican Saints 213 

the customary funeral oration. He consented to do so, July 28 
on condition of being first allowed to see the corpse. 
This request was refused on various pretexts, and 
finally he was told that the coffin was closed. " You 
could easily open it again," said the man of God ; " but 
I know very well why you refuse to grant my request. 
This very night a legion of devils came and carried off 
your unhappy father, body and soul, to hell. Beware 
of imitating his conduct. Restore your ill-gotten goods 
and give alms to secure the salvation of your souls." 
On returning to his Convent, he related to the Friars 
the horrible scene which he had witnessed, in order to 
incite them to preach against usury. 

Blessed Anthony died at Como, on the day which he 
had himself predicted, A.D. 1459. Many miraculous 
favours have been granted through his intercession, 
and he was beatified by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst set Blessed Anthony, Thy Con- 
fessor, on fire with Divine love, enkindle, we beseech 
Thee, through his intercession, the fire of Thy charity 
in our hearts, that, loving Thee on earth, we may 
enjoy eternal happiness in heaven. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 

JULY 30 

Blessed Iftannes, Confessor 

(About A.D. 1155-1235) 

BLESSED MANNES was the second son of Don July 30 
Felix Guzman and Blessed Jane of Aza, and elder 
brother of Saint Dominic, and was born in Spain, 
probably about the middle of the twelfth century. 

214 Dominican Saints 

July 30 That he was considerably older than Saint Dominic, 
who was born in A.D. 1170, is proved by the fact that 
he and his eldest brother had already made choice of 
the ecclesiastical state before the birth of the Founder 
of the Friars Preachers. Of the early life of Blessed 
Mannes we know little or nothing, save that he 
was much given to prayer and contemplation. When 
Saint Dominic began to evangelise Languedoc, Blessed 
Mannes came to share his labours, and was one of the 
sixteen first companions of the Saint who made their 
profession in his hands at Prouille, on the Feast 
of the Assumption, A.D. 1217. He was immediately 
despatched to found the Order in Paris, and arrived in 
that city in company with Father Michael de Fabra 
and a lay brother, on September I2th of the same 

God had bestowed on him a marvellous power of 
attracting souls ; the peace, gentleness, and serenity 
of his character exercised an irresistible influence on 
all who approached him. We next hear of him as 
discharging for a time the office of chaplain to the 
nuns at Prouille, after which he was entrusted with 
the care of the newly established Convent of Domini- 
canesses at Madrid, a post for which his contempla- 
tive spirit and his intimate knowledge of the ways 
of perfection eminently fitted him. Blessed Mannes 
probably filled this office for about twelve years. The 
last notice we find of him regards the establishment of 
a chapel in honour of Saint Dominic at Calaroga, the 
scene of his birth. On hearing of his brother's 
canonization in the year 1233, Blessed Mannes visited 
their ancestral home, and exhorted the people to build 
a chapel in honour of him who was truly the glory of 
their village. "Content yourselves for the present 
with a modest oratory/' said he ; " my brother, when 
he chooses, will know how to enlarge it." About 

Dominican Saints 215 

thirty years later, this prophecy was verified, when July 30 
King Alphonsus X. laid on this hallowed ground the 
foundations of a magnificent church and of a Convent 
of nuns of the Order. 

The date of Blessed Mannes' death is unknown. 
He was laid to rest in the tomb of his ancestors in the 
Cistercian Church of Gumiel d'Izan, where God was 
pleased to manifest his glory by many miracles. Later 
on, his relics were placed under the High Altar, to- 
gether with those of other Saints. He was beatified 
by Gregory XVI., having been honoured by the faith- 
ful from the time of his holy death. 


O God, who by Thy wonderful providence didst 
guide Blessed Mannes, Thy Confessor, into the way of 
perfection, direct our actions by that same gracious 
mercy, that we may seek to do what Thou commandest, 
and so attain to what Thou hast promised. Through 
our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed 3ane of flza, Iftotber of 
Saint Dominic 

(i2th Century) 

BLESSED JANE OF AZA, though believed by some Aug. 2 
writers to have been a daughter of the ducal house 
of Brittany, is more generally thought to have be- 
longed to the noble Spanish family of the Garciez, 
related by blood to Saint Lewis of France, Saint 
Ferdinand of Spain, and others who have been raised 
to the altars of the Church. Her birth took place in 
the first half of the twelfth century, at the Castle of 

2i 6 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 2 Aza, near Aranda, on the Douro. Of her youth we 
have no particulars ; as soon as she was of an age to 
marry, she contracted an alliance with Don Felix de 
Guzman of Calaroga in Old Castile, whose lineage was 
as noble and as saintly as her own. His personal 
character, as well as his rank, rendered him in every 
way worthy to become her husband ; and the house- 
hold over which they ruled was so remarkable for its 
piety and good order, that it was commonly said rather 
to resemble that of a monastery than of a knightly castle. 

To singular beauty of person and the charms of a 
cultivated mind, Blessed Jane added solid piety and 
great energy in the practice of good works. The 
world had never had any attractions for her; she 
applied herself diligently to the requirements of her 
state, and devoted all the time which remained after 
the discharge of her domestic duties to prayer and 
works of charity. She was ever distinguished for 
humility, and, high-born lady as she was, the simplicity 
and modesty of her bearing excelled that of all her 
attendants. She frequently spent the whole night in 
devotional exercises, made pilgrimages to the neigh- 
bouring sanctuaries, and visited the sick and poor in 
their humble dwellings. 

Of the three sons born of this truly Christian 
marriage, Antonio, the eldest, became a secular priest, 
and, enamoured of holy poverty, distributed his patri- 
mony to the poor and retired to a hospital, where he 
spent the remainder of his days humbly ministering to 
the sick. Mannes, the second son, also embraced the 
ecclesiastical state, in due course became one of the 
first Friar Preachers, and has received the honours of 
beatification. By the dedication of both their sons to 
the service of the sanctuary, Don Felix and his wife 
were left without an heir to carry on the succession of 
their family, and desiring greatly to obtain from Heaven 

Dominican Saints 217 

the gift of yet another son, Dona Jane resolved to Aug. 2 
present her petition to God through the intercession 
of Saint Dominic of Silos, a Saint at that time re- 
nowned throughout Spain for the fame of his miracles, 
especially in the releasing of captives. 

The Monastery of Silos, which stands in the near 
vicinity of Calaroga, was the resort of pilgrims from 
every part of the country; and there, with the appro- 
bation of the Abbot, she began a novena, spending, not 
her days only, but her nights also in the church, the hard 
pavement of which was her only bed. On the seventh 
day of the novena the Saint appeared to her, and 
declared that her prayers were heard, and that she 
would become the mother of a son who should be the 
light of the Church and the terror of heretics. In 
gratitude, she offered to the Saint the child who was 
to be given her through his intercession, and promised 
that, in memory of this favour, he should bear the 
name of Dominic. Before his birth she beheld her son 
in a dream or vision, represented under the figure of a 
black and white dog, holding in its mouth a torch 
which kindled and illuminated the entire world. About 
this time also Jane had, with her accustomed liberality, 
distributed to the poor the entire contents of a cask of 
excellent wine. Fearing that this might cause some 
annoyance to her husband, she knelt down in the 
cellar and offered the following touching prayer : " O 
Lord Jesus, though I do not deserve to be heard, I 
beseech Thee, nevertheless, to take pity upon me in 
the name of Thy servant, the dear little child whom 
I bear in my womb and whom I have consecrated to 
Thee." The prayer was scarcely ended when the cask 
was found to be miraculously refilled. 

Dona Jane would entrust to no one the nurturing of 
this child of benediction, the future father and founder 
of the Order of Preachers ; she brought him up her- 

2i 8 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 2 self with the utmost care, and, when he was but a few 
weeks old, she and Don Felix bore him to the Abbey 
of Silos and offered him to God before the altar 
of Saint Dominic. The Abbot celebrated a Mass of 
thanksgiving, and when turning round to say the 
Dominus vobiscum, his eyes chanced to rest upon 
the infant, and he uttered instead the words, Ecce 
reparator Ecclesia" " Behold the reformer of the 
Church." Perceiving his mistake, he endeavoured to 
correct it, but three times the same words involuntarily 
escaped his lips, and they were taken as a presage of 
the child's future destiny. 

Blessed Jane also carried the infant to the tomb of 
his great-uncle, Blessed Peter of Ucles, the founder of 
the military religious Order of the Knights of Saint 
James of the Sword. She seems frequently to have 
visited this spot, where a hermitage still bears her name, 
whilst a fountain and garden in the neighbourhood 
are called the fountain and garden of Saint Dominic. 
When he had reached the age of seven, she entrusted 
her child to the care of her brother, the arch-priest of 
the neighbouring town of Gumiel d'Izan ; and another 
of her brothers, the Abbot of La Vid, seems also to 
have had his share in the education of the young Saint. 

Don Felix and Blessed Jane must have had other 
children besides the three here mentioned, as it is 
certain that Saint Dominic and Blessed Mannes had 
two nephews who entered the Order of Preachers ; and 
the name of Guzman has been perpetuated in Spain 
even to our own days and has been allied by marriage 
to many of the royal families of Europe. 

The death of Blessed Jane is believed to have taken 
place between the years 1185 and 1194, when her 
son was studying at Palencia. She was buried in 
the parish church of Calaroga, but her remains were 
subsequently translated, first to the family burial- 

Dominican Saints 219 

place of the Guzmans at Gumiel d'Izan, and later Aug. 2 
on to Penafiel. From time immemorial she has been 
held in great veneration, and she was beatified by 
Leo XII. 


O God, who didst wonderfully make known to Thy 
handmaid, Blessed Jane, the grace of the heavenly 
calling of her son, Dominic, we beseech Thee that, 
imitating her and her son thus foreshown to her, 
we may, by the loving intercession of them both, re- 
ceive everlasting rewards. Through Christ our Lord. 


Our fiolp Fatber, Saint Dominic 

(A.D. 1170-1221) 

SAINT DOMINIC, the Father and Founder of the Order Aug. 2 
of Preachers, was born at Calaroga in Old Castile, 
A.D. 1170, of the illustrious family of the Guzmans. 
His mother, Blessed Jane of Aza, beheld him in vision 
before his birth under the figure of a black and white 
dog, holding in its mouth a torch which set the whole 
world on fire ; and the noble lady who held him at the 
font saw, as the water was poured on his head, a 
bright star appear on his forehead, whence, in after 
years, there shown forth as it were a radiant light, 
which filled men with respect and love. After a pious 
education under the care of his maternal uncle, the 
arch-priest of Gumiel d'Izan, the young Dominic was 
sent to the University of Palencia, where he specially 
distinguished himself by his talents, his modesty, and 
his tender compassion for the poor. In a terrible 
famine which desolated Spain in the year 1191, he 
even sold his books and distributed their price to the 

22O Dominican Saints 

Aug. 4 starving multitudes, and on two occasions he offered 
himself to be sold as a slave in order to deliver others 
from situations of danger. 

He embraced the ecclesiastical state and joined a 
Community of Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, 
which had been recently founded at Osma, and of 
which he became the Sub-Prior. In the year 1203 he 
accompanied his Bishop, Don Diego d'Azevedo, on a 
political embassy to the north of Europe, on their 
return from which they visited Rome and asked 
permission of the Holy Father to go and preach the 
gospel to the barbarous hordes then pressing on the 
north-eastern frontiers of Europe. This was refused, 
but they were permitted instead to labour in the 
south of France, at that time grievously infested by 
the Albigenses. The hideously blasphemous doctrines 
of these heretics were the complete and radical nega- 
tion of all Christian dogma, and struck at the very 
root of all social morality, whilst their undisguised 
contempt of authority made their existence no less 
dangerous to the State than it was hostile to the 

It was whilst he was thus engaged in defending the 
faith in Languedoc that Our Lady appeared to Saint 
Dominic and taught him the devotion of the Holy 
Rosary, by the preaching of which he gained an im- 
mense harvest of souls. One of the many miracles 
which illustrated this period of his life was the saving 
the lives of forty English pilgrims, whose boat capsized 
as they were crossing the Garonne on their way to 
Saint James of Compostella. On another occasion the 
written document in which he had defended the Catho- 
lic faith was miraculously delivered from the flames, 
whilst that drawn up by the heretics was instantly 
reduced to ashes. 

In the year 1206, Saint Dominic founded at Prouille 

Dominican Saints 221 

his first Convent for religious women, now known as Aug 4 
his Second Order, who devote themselves to a life of 
austerity and contemplation. Gradually, too, he gathered 
companions around him to assist him in his apostolic 
labours, and in the year 1215 he again visited Rome 
to obtain the consent of Pope Innocent III. for the 
foundation of the Order of Friars Preachers. At first 
it was refused. In a vision of the night, however, 
the Pontiff seemed to see the Lateran Basilica about to 
fall, but supported on the shoulders of Saint Dominic. 
In consequence of this manifestation of the Divine 
will he withdrew his opposition, and in the year 1216 
his successor, Honorius III., solemnly approved the new 
Order, and the first sixteen companions of the Saint 
made their profession on the Festival of the Assump- 
tion, pledging themselves to observe the Rule of Saint 
Augustine and the Constitutions drawn up for them 
by their holy Founder. These Constitutions combined 
the monastic observances of earlier ages with theological 
studies and active labours for the salvation of souls. 
At a later period, the Saint founded his Third Order, 
which at first was of the nature of a military religious 
Order for the defence of the Church, but which has 
now exchanged the duties of military service for those 
of penance and charity. Women as well as men are 
received into its ranks, and some of the sanctity of the 
cloister has thus passed into family and secular life. 
Besides Tertiaries living in their own homes, there 
are now in almost every part of the world numerous 
flourishing congregations of the Third Order, gathered 
together in Community under all the obligations of 
religious life and devoting themselves to every kind of 
charitable labour. 

The remaining five years of the Saint's life were 
spent in training the disciples who flocked around him, 
and whom he dispersed to found the Order in every 

222 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 4 part of Europe, and in preaching in many of the towns 
and villages of France, Spain, and Italy. In Rome 
he was employed by the Pope to gather together a 
number of religious women then living in the city 
without enclosure or any kind of regular discipline. 
He succeeded in forming them into a fervent Com- 
munity, which he established at Saint Sixtus. His 
miracles were very numerous, including the raising 
of three dead persons to life. God was pleased to 
grant him many wonderful visions, one of the most 
remarkable of which was that in which he beheld 
his children beneath the folds of Our Lady's mantle, 
and heard from the lips of his Divine Master the 
consoling words, "I have given thy Order to My 

Saint Dominic is firmly believed to have preserved 
his baptismal innocence. He was pre-eminently a 
man of prayer, much given to the practice of penance, 
burning with zeal for the salvation of souls, unrivalled 
in humility and gentleness, and gifted with a marvel- 
lous serenity of soul, which nothing seemed capable of 

Shortly after the second General Chapter of his 
Order, he received an intimation of his approaching 
death, which took place at Bologna on August 6th, 
A.D. 1 22 1, at the age of fifty-one. With his dying 
breath the holy Founder promised his children that he 
would be more helpful to them in heaven than he had 
ever been on earth. He was canonized twelve years 
after his death by Pope Gregory IX., who, as Cardinal, 
had been his personal friend. 


O God, who hast vouchsafed to enlighten Thy Church 
by the merits and teaching of Thy blessed Confessor, 
our holy Father, Saint Dominic, grant at his interces- 

Dominican Saints 223 

sion that it may never be destitute of temporal help, Aug. 4 
and may always increase in spiritual growth. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Augustine of Cucera, Bishop 
and Confessor 

(A.D. 1262-1323) 

born at Trau in Dalmatia, of noble parents, about 
A.D. 1262. He entered the Dominican Order at an 
early age, and was sent to study at the University of 
Paris, where he made extraordinary progress both in 
learning and sanctity. On his return to his native 
land, he preached with much zeal and fruit of souls, 
and rendered important services to the Church. He 
founded several Convents of his Order and was held 
in great veneration as a wise and holy superior. In 
order to draw down the grace of God upon his ministry, 
he often spent the whole night in prayer, and he was 
accustomed to quote the words of Saint Augustine: 
" He knows how to live well who knows how to pray 
well," and those of Blessed Jordan of Saxony: "As 
the body is supported by mingled food and drink, so 
our souls are supported by mingled prayer and study 
of Holy Scripture." If any of his subjects appeared 
negligent in the observances of religious life, he would 
stir him up to better things by those other words 
of Saint Augustine : " Since I began to serve God, 
as I have hardly ever seen better men than those 
who live a holy life in monasteries, so have I never seen 
worse than those who live not in them as they should." 

224 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 8 The servant of God was next summoned to Italy, 
where he exerted himself with wonderful success in 
reconciling the rival factions of Guelphs and Ghibel- 
lines ; thence he passed into Bosnia, where his apos- 
tolic labours for the defence of the faith and the ex- 
tirpation of heresy were rewarded by an abundant 
harvest of souls. His next mission was to Hungary, 
then torn by internal dissensions; and here he was 
associated with the Apostolic Legate, Cardinal Nicholas 
Boccasino, of our Order, who was afterwards raised to 
the Chair of Saint Peter under the title of Benedict XL, 
and who has received the honours of beatification. 
On becoming Pope, this holy man summoned his for- 
mer colleague to Rome, in order to raise him to the 
episcopate. When the servant of God presented 
himself for his first audience, the holy Pontiff was 
suffering from acute rheumatism, and it was with 
difficulty that he stretched out his hand to greet him. 
Scarcely had the lips of Blessed Augustine touched 
the suffering hand, when all pain disappeared and the 
Pope found himself completely cured. 

Blessed Benedict with his own hands consecrated his 
friend Bishop, and appointed him to the See of Zagrab, 
now called Agram, in Slavonia. 

On arriving in his diocese, the holy Bishop won the 
hearts of his people by his ardent charity, his familiar 
instructions, and his numerous miracles. His clergy 
stood in great need of reform, but Blessed Augustine 
by his tact and the influence of his personal sanctity 
soon effected a salutary change amongst them. His 
revenues were spent in relieving the poor and in 
completing the cathedral begun by one of his pre- 
decessors. But he would never allow his family arms 
to be placed on the building or on any of the gifts 
which he presented to it. He founded a Convent of 
his Order in his episcopal city, and loved to retire into 

Dominican Saints 225 

it from time to time, in order to refresh his soul by Aug. 8 
prayer and contemplation. 

God had granted him to an extraordinary degree 
the power of healing the sick. His humility became 
alarmed, and, in order to avoid the praises of men, he 
planted a lime tree, and, after offering a devout prayer, 
bade the people henceforth seek their cure from the 
leaves of that tree. It soon became evident that his 
prayer had been heard; and even the Turks, when 
they took possession of the country, respected the 
health-giving tree, which was popularly called " Saint 
Augustine's lime tree.',' 

After ruling the See of Agram for fourteen years, he 
was translated to that of Lucera, also called Nocera, in 
the south of Italy, at the request of Robert, King of 
Naples and Sicily, who was anxious to provide for the 
reformation of morals in that part of his dominions, 
where the Saracens had until recently had a footing. 
As soon as Blessed Augustine entered his new diocese, 
he placed it under the patronage of our Blessed Lady, 
and decreed that his cathedral city should resume its 
former name of Santa Maria della Vittoria. By his 
prayers, labours, and example he succeeded in less 
than six years in completely banishing from his diocese 
the superstitions and evil practices introduced by the 
Saracens, and his half-barbarous flock became a truly 
Christian people. 

His holy and happy death took place on the 3rd of 
August, A.D. 1323, and he was buried in the Church of 
Saint Dominic, attached to the Convent which he had 
built for his Brethren at Nocera. Many miracles were 
worked at his tomb, and he has been held in the 
greatest veneration from the time of his death. He 
was beatified by Clement XI. 

226 Dominican Saints 


Aug. 8 O God, who wast pleased to provide for Thy Church 
in the Blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, 
an example of the good shepherd, mercifully grant that 
by his intercession we may be found worthy to be 
placed in Thy pasture for ever. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 


Blessed 3obn of Salerno, Confessor 

(I3th Century) 

Aug. 9 BLESSED JOHN of Salerno was a native of Southern 
Italy, and belonged to the illustrious family of Quarna, 
which was allied by blood to the Norman princes who 
long ruled over the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. 
Whilst pursuing his studies at Bologna, he became 
acquainted with our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, who 
himself received him into the Order. From that time 
Blessed John made marvellous progress both in learn- 
ing and sanctity, and became one of the columns of the 
rising institute. The holy Patriarch regarded him with 
singular affection, and often took him as the companion 
of his journeys, and made choice of him to establish 
the Order in Florence. Twelve Brethren were selected 
for this important foundation, and Blessed John, though 
probably the youngest of the party, was appointed 
their Superior. They took up their abode at first in a 
small Convent which had been built for them at Ripoli, 
a few miles outside Florence; but this inconvenient 
abode was soon exchanged, first for San Pancrazio, 
adjoining the ramparts, and finally for Santa Maria 
Novella within the city. 

The eloquence and sanctity of the young Prior drew 

Dominican Saints 227 

many illustrious recruits to the Order, and did much to Aug. 9 
stem the progress of the Manichaean heresy, of which 
Florence was at that time one of the chief strongholds. 
He was a perfect model of a religious Superior, a most 
exact observer of the Rule, gentle, kind, and yet firm in 
enforcing its observance on others. He spent a great 
part of the night in prayer, often ravished in extasy ; 
he celebrated Mass with angelic devotion, abundant 
tears, and minute care in the very least of the sacred 
ceremonies. He would often impress upon his subjects 
that, if a religious is bound to aim at perfection in all 
his actions, there was none which demands of him so 
much vigilance, piety, and purity as the reception of the 
Holy Eucharist. God made known to him the secrets 
of hearts ; hence on communicating days he would 
often warn seculars of hidden faults of which they had 
been guilty, and his own young religious of failings 
which had escaped their notice. 

One day, when a possessed woman was being exor- 
cized, the devil exclaimed : " I shall not go out of her 
save at the command of him who in the midst of the 
flames was not burnt." He was adjured to explain 
what he meant ; then, with frightful yells and contor- 
tions, he named the Prior of the Dominicans. Blessed 
John was sent for, and immediately freed the woman 
from her infernal tormentor; and this circumstance 
revealed a signal victory which he had gained when 
snares had been laid for his chastity, and which in his 
humility he had hitherto kept concealed. 

The Friars at Florence had the happiness of receiv- 
ing two visits from Saint Dominic in the years 1219 
and 1 220. The following year Blessed John was sum- 
moned to Bologna to assist at the death-bed of his 
beloved father. 

During the closing years of his life, God favoured 
the holy Prior with the gift of miracles, and he wrought 

228 Dominican Saints 

Aug 9 many remarkable cures. He established a convent of 
religious women of the Order at Ripoli, where the 
Friars had first been stationed, and worked to his 
dying day for the good of the Church, the extirpation 
of heresy, and the propagation of the Order. At length, 
having for many years governed the Convent of Santa 
Maria Novella, worn out by his labours and austerities, 
he happily departed to our Lord, exhorting his Brethren 
with his dying breath to keep their vows faithfully, to love 
God with their whole heart, and to despise all perish- 
able things. His tomb became a place of pilgrimage 
and was honoured by many miracles. It was custo- 
mary to keep a lamp burning in the chapel where the 
holy relics reposed. One day the oil failed, and the 
Sacristan, seeing a poor woman kneeling in prayer 
before the shrine, begged an alms of her to renew the 
supply. She assured him she had not a drop of oil nor 
the means of procuring any. " Go home," said the 
Brother ; " I am quite sure that, through the merits of 
the servant of God, you will find some in your house." 
The poor woman went home and was surprised to find 
the little vessel in which she kept her supply of oil full 
to the brim. She immediately returned to the church 
and related the miracle in the presence of witnesses. 
Blessed John of Salerno was beatified by Pius VI. 


O God, who for the increase of the faith didst make 
Blessed John, Thy Confessor, a noble preacher of Thy 
Word, grant to us, through his intercession, that what 
we believe with the heart unto justice we may confess 
with the mouth unto salvation. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 229 


Saint Bpacintb, Confessor 

(A.D. 1185-1257) 

THIS great glory of the Dominican Order belonged Aug. 16 
to the noble Polish family of Odrowatz, whence at a 
later date sprang the house of Kostka, which gave 
birth to Saint Stanislas, the novice Saint of the Society 
of Jesus. Saint Hyacinth was born in the neighbour- 
hood of Breslau, in Silesia, in A.D. 1185. He was 
nearly related to Blessed Ceslas, probably his younger 
brother, and from infancy gave promise of unusual 
talent and virtue, and of extraordinary gifts both of 
nature and grace, specially of a tender love and com- 
passion for the poor. As a child, he would gaze at 
the portraits of his forefathers which hung in the halls 
of his ancestral home, and ask to be told the story of 
their exploits ; and, . when he grew older, he would 
often encourage himself to higher things by the re- 
membrance of their example. The early education of 
the two holy brothers was superintended by their 
uncle, Yvo Odrowatz, afterwards Bishop of Cracow, 
who was so struck by the precocious sanctity of 
Hyacinth as to predict that he would one day be 
raised to the altars of the Church. Both embraced 
the ecclesiastical state and accompanied their uncle on 
a visit to Rome, where, as has been already related in 
the life of Blessed Ceslas, they were present when 
Saint Dominic raised the young Napoleon to life, and 
subsequently received the habit of the Order from the 
hands of the Holy Patriarch in the chapter-room of 
Santa Sabina. 

Saint Hyacinth, during his short period of probation, 

230 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 16 learnt faithfully to copy the life of our holy Father, 
especially his spirit of prayer and penance and his 
zeal for the salvation of souls. Their noviciate over, 
he and his companions set out for Poland, preaching 
and founding convents as they went along. Their 
route lay through Northern Italy, Styria, Austria, 
Moravia, and Silesia. On arriving at Cracow, they 
gathered around them a fervent band of novices and 
established a large convent. Faithful to the Dominican 
law of dispersion, Saint Hyacinth soon despatched 
Blessed Ceslas and Henry of Moravia to plant the 
Order in Bohemia, whilst he himself set out to evan- 
gelize Prussia, Denmark, Scandinavia, and Russia. 
He realised Saint Dominic's desire of preaching to the 
Cumans, amongst whom he found his Brethren already 
labouring, and then continued his apostolic journeys 
through Turkestan, Tartary, and Thibet, as far as the 
great wall of China. Modern missionaries have found 
traces of his labours in these countries. Saint Hya- 
cinth also preached along the shores of the Black Sea 
and in the islands of the Grecian Archipelago. 

He ever bore a tender devotion to the holy Mother 
of God, and she in her turn showered down countless 
favours upon him. She once appeared to him on the 
Feast of her Assumption, and gave him this consoling 
promise : " Hyacinth, my son, rejoice ; for thy prayers 
are pleasing to my Son, the Saviour of the world ; and 
whatsoever thou shalt ask of Him in my name thou 
shalt obtain through my intercession." From that day 
the Saint's confidence was so increased, that he was 
not afraid to ask even for things which were, naturally 
speaking, impossible of accomplishment ; and his life 
became a series of miracles, such as it has been granted 
to few Saints to work since the days of the Apostles. 

One day when the Saint was beginning his Mass in 
the Convent at Kiev, the Tartars suddenly broke into 

Dominican Saints 231 

the city, and he and his Community were compelled to Aug. 16 
take to flight. Still clad in his sacred vestments, Saint 
Hyacinth took the Blessed Sacrament from the taber- 
nacle and prepared to depart. But when he had got 
half-way down the church, he heard a voice proceed- 
ing from a huge alabaster statue of our Blessed Lady, 
saying : " Hyacinth, my son, wilt thou leave me be- 
hind to be trampled under foot by the Tartars ? Take 
me with thee." " How can I, holy Virgin ? " replied 
the Saint ; " thy image is too heavy." " Take me, 
nevertheless," answered our Lady ; " my Son will 
lighten the burden." Then the Saint clasped the 
massive image in one arm, and, bearing the Blessed 
Sacrament in the other, went forth courageously, and 
crossed the Dnieper dry-shod, whilst his Brethren 
who followed him, stretched their mantles on the water 
and embarking upon them, also traversed the river in 
safety. The miraculous image is still preserved at 

When the term of Saint Hyacinth's earthly pilgrim- 
age was drawing to a close, as he was one day saying 
Mass, he suddenly beheld a dazzling light descend from 
heaven, in the midst of which appeared a long proces- 
sion of angels and virgins, forming an escort to their 
Queen. The celestial company prostrated round the 
altar whilst the Saint offered the Holy Sacrifice. At 
its conclusion he saw Our Lady crowned by her Divine 
Son with a crown of flowers and of stars, which Mary 
then took from her head and showed to him, saying : 
" Behold ! this crown is for thee." 

He was taken ill on the following feast of Saint 
Dominic. On the eve of the Assumption he made a 
touching address to his Brethren, after which he rose 
to assist at the Matins and Mass of the festival. Then, 
kneeling on the altar steps, supported by his weeping 
children, he received the Holy Viaticum and Extreme 

232 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 16 Unction. They carried him back to his cell, where he 
calmly awaited his release. When the end was close 
at hand, he intoned the 3<Dth Psalm : " In Thee, O 
Lord, have I hoped," and breathed forth his holy soul 
to God at the verse : " Into Thy hands I commend my 
spirit." It was the 1 5th of August, A.D. 1257. After 
his death he appeared in glory to the Bishop of Cra- 
cow, in company with the Martyr Bishop, Saint 
Stanislas. He was also seen by a holy nun who 
lived near Cracow, being led by Our Lady into heaven 
amidst a glorious company of angels and of saints. 

Almost innumerable miracles were worked at his 
tomb, including the raising of as many as fifty per- 
sons from the dead. He was canonized A.D. 1594 
by Clement VIII., and Urban VIII. extended the cele- 
bration of his festival to the universal Church. 


O God, who didst make Blessed Hyacinth, Thy 
Confessor, glorious amongst the people of divers 
nations for the holiness of his life and the glory of his 
miracles, grant that by his example we may amend 
our lives, and be defended by his help in all adversities. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed milp Biccimri, Virgin 

(A.D. 1238-1314) 

Aug. 17 EMILY BICCHIERI was born of pious and noble 
parents at Vercelli, in Italy, on the 3rd of May, 
A.D. 1238. Having lost her mother at an early age, 
she cast herself at the feet of Our Lady's statue 
and besought the holy Mother of God to take her 

Dominican Saints 233 

under her special protection. At the age of sixteen Aug. 17 
she made known to her father her ardent desire of 
embracing the religious life in the Third Order of 
Saint Dominic. He built and endowed for her a large 
Monastery outside the city, dedicated to Saint Mar- 
garet. Thither she retired in company with some 
other maidens of noble birth, and at the age of twenty 
became Prioress of the new Community, which she 
governed with great prudence and charity, using her 
most earnest endeavours to maintain regular obser- 
vance and to cause her subjects to advance in the path 
of perfection. The point on which she chiefly insisted 
was purity of intention. She was never weary ot 
exhorting them to be assiduous in the contemplation 
of the Divine mysteries, and she was accustomed to 
say that a nun who is not thoroughly exercised in this 
kind of prayer is like a stranger going to a city in 
order to make purchases, and not knowing with whom 
to deal or at what price to buy. She taught them the 
lesson of humility by her example even more than by 
her words ; for, though she was Foundress and Prioress 
of the house, she always took her turn in discharging 
the lowliest offices. 

Blessed Emily was wont to train her children to 
practise little acts of mortification, and to place them in 
the hands of their Guardian Angel till they should 
stand in need of them to cancel their debt in Purgatory. 
Thus she often refused a certain Sister Cecilia leave 
to drink out of meal-time, bidding her offer the priva- 
tion to our Lord, in union with the thirst He endured 
upon the Cross. The Sister died, and appeared to her 
Prioress at the end of three days, telling her that 
she would have had to stay a considerable time in 
Purgatory, but that on the third day her Guardian 
Angel had come and quenched the flames with that 
water of which she had felt it so hard to deprive 

234 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 17 herself when on earth, and that she was now taking 
her flight to heaven. Another Sister had fallen into 
a state of tepidity and extreme disrelish for all her 
spiritual duties. Blessed Emily, perceiving her haste 
to get out of Choir, and learning the cause from her 
own lips, commanded her, in virtue of obedience, 
henceforth to be the last to leave the Choir. The 
Sister obeyed, and from that day not only did all her 
disrelish for prayer vanish away, but she took pleasure 
in prolonging her devotions for a considerable time 
after her companions had retired. 

The holy Prioress had the most ardent love for 
Jesus in the Adorable Sacrament. She was permitted 
to communicate thrice in the week and on all festivals, 
which in those days was unusually frequent Com- 
munion. Her humility took alarm, and she resolved 
to abstain for a time from approaching the Holy Table. 
But our Lord would not allow His Spouse to fall into 
this dangerous delusion. He appeared to her radiant 
with celestial glory, saying: " Beloved Spouse, why 
art thou afraid to approach My Banquet ? Have I 
not prepared it on purpose that I might feed thee with 
My Flesh and Blood ? Come without fear, and look 
not so much at thine own vileness, but rather on the 
loving pity which has moved Me to institute this 
Sacrament for the happiness of My creatures. Learn 
that those who receive Me out of love please Me 
infinitely more than those who keep away from Me out 
of fear." Reassured by this vision, the servant of 
God thenceforth hungered more and more after the 
Bread of Angels. One day she was detained at the 
bedside of a sick Sister, and thus prevented from com- 
municating with the rest. As soon as she was free, 
she went to the Choir and lovingly offered to our Lord 
the great privation which she had suffered. An Angel 

Dominican Saints 235 

immediately appeared and brought her Holy Com- Aug. 17 
munion in the sight of all her Sisters. 

Blessed Emily was very devout to the Passion of 
our Lord, and He promised her to grant an increase of 
the three theological virtues to all who should recite 
three Paters and Aves daily at about three o'clock in 
the afternoon, in honour of His Crucifixion. Our Lady 
also instructed her to say three Paters and Aves for 
the dying, in gratitude for the agony and bloody sweat 
of her Divine Son, telling her at the same time that 
this devotion was very pleasing to Him. When the 
city of Vercelli was visited by violent and prolonged 
rain, the Blessed Virgin taught her some prayers of 
special efficacy against storms. The servant of God 
had very great faith in the power of the sign of the 
Cross and of holy water, and was endowed with the 
gift of miracles. 

At length, at the age of seventy-six, she was seized 
with her last illness. Having received the Holy Sacra- 
ments with much devotion, embraced each of her 
Sisters and spoken to them words of edification, with 
the holy names of "Jesus, Mary, Dominic" on her 
lips, she departed to her Spouse on the 3rd of May, 
which was her birthday, A.D. 1314. She was beatified 
by Pope Clement XIV. 


O God, who gavest unto Blessed Emily, Thy Virgin, 
grace to despise all earthly things and to seek Thee 
alone, grant, through her merits and intercessions, 
that, despising all perishable allurements, we may love 
Thee with our whole heart. Through Christ our Lord. 

236 Dominican Saints 


Blessed James of Iftevatiia, Confessor 

(A.D. 1220-1301) 

Aug. 23 BLESSED JAMES was born at Mevania, now called 
Bevagna, a little town in Umbria, of the noble family 
of the Bianconi, in the year 1220. On the day of 
his birth there appeared in the sky above his native 
place three large and brilliant stars, each bearing on 
its disk the image of a Friar Preacher. On behold- 
ing this extraordinary phenomenon, which lasted all 
through the night and part of the following day, 
the children of Bevagna began to run through the 
streets, crying out, " To the schools ! To the schools ! 
Behold the new masters whom Heaven is sending 
us." As Blessed Ambrose of Siena was born that 
same year and Saint Thomas Aquinas some five 
years later, the prodigy has since been regarded as 
having had reference to these three great luminaries 
of the Church and of the Order. 

Little James was carefully brought up by his pious 
parents and gave early signs of his future holiness. 
He prayed much and fasted often ; and a sudden and 
unlocked for reconciliation between his family and 
that of the Alberti, with whom they had been at 
variance, was regarded as due to the prayers and 
merits of the saintly child. When he was sixteen, 
two Dominicans came to preach the Lent at Bevagna. 
Blessed James attended their sermons, closely studied 
their manner of life, and began to feel himself drawn 
to the new Order. After his Communion on Maundy 
Thursday, as he was devoutly reciting that verse of 
the 1 1 8th Psalm, "Set before me for a law the way 

Dominican Saints 237 

of Thy justifications, O Lord, and I will always seek Aug. 23 
after it," he received an inward assurance that his 
vocation was from heaven. He immediately went to 
one of the Fathers and opened his heart to him on 
the subject. He was told to spend the night in 
prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and to fast on 
the morrow on bread and water, in order to be more 
fully assured of the Divine will in the matter. He 
obeyed, and Saint Dominic then appeared to him 
and said, " My son, put thy design into execution, 
for I have chosen thee by order of the Lord, and I 
will be ever with thee." After Easter, the holy youth 
returned with the Fathers to their Convent at Spoleto 
and entered on his noviceship with great fervour. 
During the early years of his religious life he made 
it his constant petition to God that he might have 
the grace to labour efficaciously at the work of his 
own sanctification, in order to be able later on to 
contribute to that of others. 

Blessed James went through his studies with dis- 
tinction and was afterwards employed in teaching 
and preaching, with much fruit of souls. After a time 
he was sent to Bevagna, then torn by hostile factions. 
He succeeded in restoring peace and concord amongst 
his fellow-citizens, and in purging the town of heresy, 
immorality, and superstition, and obtained leave to 
establish a Convent of the Order in its midst, of which he 
became Prior. His exact observance of the Rule made 
him a living pattern to his subjects. He was specially 
severe with himself in the matter of poverty. One 
day, his mother, seeing his tattered habit, gave him 
some money to provide himself with a new one. Now 
it happened, that, at that time, he was much in want 
of a crucifix for his cell, and he accordingly spent 
his mother's alms in buying one. When next she 
saw him, she reproached him for what he had done, 

238 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 23 bidding him notice the rags in which he was clothed 
but he answered sweetly, "Mother, I have not dis- 
obeyed your wishes. Does not Saint Paul bid us 
' put on the Lord Jesus ' ? That is the garment which 
I have purchased." 

One day when he was praying, probably before this 
very crucifix, in an hour of great anguish of spirit, and 
begging of God to give him some assurance of his 
eternal salvation, a stream of blood burst from the side 
of the sacred image and flowed over his face and 
clothes, and at the same time he heard a voice saying, 
" Let this blood be to thee as a sign of thy salvation ! " 
For a long time he was unable to obliterate the traces 
of this miraculous favour, and the joy which it caused 
him so quickened the fervour of the Divine love in his 
heart, that he ceased not to sigh after the moment 
when he should " be dissolved and be with Christ." 

On the Feast of the Assumption, A.D. 1301, our 
Lord appeared to him with the joyful tidings that in a 
week's time He would take him to Himself; telling him 
that Our Lady should be present at his death, because 
he had spent on adorning her image some money 
which had been given him to buy clothes for himself ; 
Saint George should be there, because he had enlarged 
his church ; and Saint Dominic, because he had worn 
his habit. After receiving the Last Sacraments with 
much devotion, he called for a glass of water, which 
he blessed, and it was instantly changed into the most 
delicious wine, of which he drank himself, as did also 
all the by-standers, and yet the contents of the glass 
were not diminished. This miraculous wine was pre- 
served for more than two centuries and was the means 
of working many miracles. At length, the glass which 
contained it was contemptuously broken by a heretic, 
who had made his way into the Sacristy where it was 
kept, and the precious contents were lost. When the 

Dominican Saints 239 

Brethren were reciting the prayers prescribed by the Aug. 23 
Constitutions for the repose of the soul of Blessed 
James, a heavenly voice stopped them with the words, 
" Pray not for him, but invoke him for yourselves." 
His body remained incorrupt, and a vast number of 
miracles were worked through his intercession. Pope 
Boniface IX. in A.D. 1400 approved of the veneration 
which had always been paid to Blessed James, and 
Clement X., A.D. 1674, gave permission for the cele- 
bration of his festival. In fact, he is often spoken 
of as Saint James of Mevania, two Sovereign Pontiffs 
having attributed to him that title and the process of 
his canonization having passed through all but the 
final stages. 


O God, who by the miraculous sprinkling of Thy 
Blood wast pleased to strengthen Blessed James, Thy 
Confessor, with a sure confidence of his eternal salva- 
tion, enlarge the same bowels of mercy towards us, 
that, being marked with the sign of our redemption, we 
may be counted amongst the sheep of Thy right hand 
for ever. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Saint Augustine, Bisbop, Confessor, and 
Doctor or tbe Cfturcb 

(A.D. 354-430) 

THIS great Doctor of the Church was born at Aug. 28 
Tagaste, in the north of Africa, in the year 354. His 
father, Patricius, was a Pagan and only received 
baptism shortly before his death ; his mother, Monica, 
was a Saint. Seeing the extraordinary talents of his 

240 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 28 son, Patricius spared no expense to give him the best 
education in his power, and, when he had attained the 
age of sixteen, sent him to complete his studies at 
Carthage. The young Augustine had already fallen 
into bad company, and although he devoted himself 
with ardour to the acquisition of rhetoric and philosophy, 
his life was one of sinful indulgence. He embraced 
the errors of the Manichaean heretics, in which he con- 
tinued for several years. After his father's death, 
when he was about twenty years of age, he returned to 
Tagaste and set up a school of grammar and rhetoric. 
Meanwhile his holy mother ceased not to weep and 
pray for his conversion. One day she had had re- 
course to a Bishop, begging him to use his influence 
to reclaim Augustine from his evil ways, but he only 
bade her continue her prayers, adding : " Go your way. 
God bless you. It cannot be that the child of such 
tears should perish." 

After a time Augustine removed to Rome, and then 
obtained a post as master of rhetoric at Milan, whither 
his mother followed him. Here he became acquainted 
with the holy Bishop, Saint Ambrose, and frequently 
attended his sermons. God was meanwhile opening 
his eyes more and more to the emptiness of those 
earthly ambitions on which his heart had hitherto 
been set, and, after long and painful struggles with 
himself, he at length made up his mind to renounce sin 
and embrace the Catholic faith. He was baptized by 
Saint Ambrose on Easter Eve, A.D. 387. Towards 
the close of the same year he resolved to return to 
Africa, and was on the point of embarking when the 
death of his mother, Saint Monica, at the port of 
Ostia, caused him to delay his voyage till the following 

On arriving at Tagaste, he took up his abode in a 
country-house, where, in company with some pious 

Dominican Saints 241 

friends, he devoted himself to the exercises of prayer, Aug. 28 
study, and penance. After his ordination to the priest- 
hood he removed to Hippo, where he founded another 
Monastery, and later on a Convent for nuns, of which 
his sister became the first Abbess. Valerius, Bishop of 
Hippo, employed him in the office of preaching, and 
made him his coadjutor, A.D. 395; and, when that prelate 
died in the following year, the Saint, sorely against his 
own will, became his successor in the Episcopate. He 
induced all his clergy to renounce their property and 
live with him in community. He spent great part of 
the revenues of the Church in relieving those in dis- 
tress, and succeeded in establishing amongst his flock 
the charitable custom of clothing all the poor of each 
parish once a year. He would suffer no one to defame 
his neighbour's character, and, to show his disapproval 
of the vice of detraction, would withdraw from the 
company as soon as any injurious words were spoken 
in his presence. 

Besides the admirable book of his "Confessions," 
Saint Augustine has enriched the Church with a vast 
number of learned works, sermons, instructions, and 
letters. In spite of habitual weak health and frequent 
suffering, he was indefatigable in his labours for the 
exaltation of the Church and for the extirpation of 
heresy and schism, especially directing his efforts 
against the Manichees, Pelagians, and Donatists. He 
was the oracle of his day, and is generally regarded as 
the greatest of the Latin Fathers. 

The closing years of this Saint were saddened by 
the incursions of the Vandals into Africa, and his holy 
death took place in the year 430, whilst his episcopal 
city of Hippo was being besieged by these barbarians. 
Humility had ever been his characteristic virtue, ac- 
cording to his own beautiful maxim : " Attempt not 
to attain true wisdom by any other way than that which 


242 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 28 God has enjoined. This is, in the first, second, and 
third place, humility ; and this would I answer as often 
as you ask me. Not that there are no other precepts ; 
but, unless humility go before, accompany, and follow 
after, all that we do will be snatched out of our hands 
by pride. . . . Our Lord Jesus Christ was made so 
low in order to teach us humility." 

This illustrious Doctor of the Church has a special 
claim on the love and veneration of the children of 
Saint Dominic, as they serve God under the Rule which 
bears his name, and which he wrote for the nuns of the 
Convent which he had founded. When, in the year 
1215, the holy Father, Saint Dominic, applied to Pope 
Innocent III. for permission to found his Order, the 
Council of Lateran had just decreed that no new 
Orders were to be established in the Church ; but that, 
if any one desired to found a new religious House, he 
was to observe the rule of one of the approved Orders. 
The Sovereign Pontiff, therefore, though convinced 
of the Divine will as regarded the institution of the 
Order of Preachers, was unwilling to act in direct 
contradiction to a principle so recently laid down. 
Hence he bade the holy Founder return to France, and, 
in concert with his companions, choose one of the 
ancient rules which should seem best fitted for their 
purpose. Saint Dominic accordingly assembled his 
Brethren at Prouille, and, after earnestly invoking the 
Holy Spirit, they made choice of the Rule of Saint 
Augustine, under which the holy Patriarch had himself 
lived ever since he had assumed the habit of a Canon 
Regular at Osma, and which they had all hitherto 
observed. The simplicity of this Rule, which merely 
enjoins the essential virtues of poverty, chastity, obedi- 
ence, and fraternal charity, rendered it a suitable basis 
for the Constitutions by which Saint Dominic was to 
mould the religious life of his sons and daughters. 

Dominican Saints 243 


Give ear, O Lord, to our prayers, and, by the inter- Aug. 28 
cession of Blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and 
Bishop, favourably bestow the effects of Thy accus- 
tomed mercy on us, to whom Thou hast given reason 
to trust in Thy goodness. Through Christ our Lord. 


Saint Rose of Citna, Virgin 

(A.D. 1586-1617) 

THIS " first flower of sanctity in the New World," Aug. 30 
was born at Lima, the capital of Peru, in South 
America, on the 2Oth of April, A.D. 1586, and re- 
ceived in baptism the name of Isabel, but was always 
called Rose in consequence of a beautiful rose having 
appeared in the air over her cradle, gently touching 
her face and then vanishing. Later on, our Blessed 
Lady was pleased to add her own name to that of 
Rose, saying to her in vision, " Henceforth thou shalt 
be called Rose of Saint Mary. Thy soul shall be a 
fragrant flower consecrated to Jesus of Nazareth." 
Even from infancy the choicest graces were showered 
down on this favourite of Heaven, and at the age of 
five she consecrated her virginity to God by vow. 
She was granted even at this early age a wonderful 
gift of prayer, kept herself continually in the presence 
of God, and made use of everything she saw and 
heard as a means to lift up her heart to Him. She 
was divinely inspired from her childhood upwards to 
practise in an heroic degree those virtues of penance 
and mortification which were to be among the most 
striking characteristics of her future sanctity. She 

244 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 30 knew that the Beloved of her soul had endured 
torments and death for her; and her love for Him 
found expression in inflicting the severest sufferings 
on herself. She offered all her austerities to Him, 
in expiation for her own sins and those of others, 
for the needs of the Church, the conversion of sinners, 
and the relief of the poor souls in Purgatory. She 
was very fond of fruit; from the age of four she 
absolutely forbade herself the use of it, and deprived 
her body as far as possible of everything which 
is pleasing to the senses. As she grew older, her 
scanty food consisted of hard crusts, tepid and 
nauseous water, and a soup of bitter herbs mingled 
with gall and ashes. On Fridays she took only bread 
and gall. She sometimes entirely deprived herself of 
food for a whole week, and in the heat of a tropical 
climate would, for weeks at a time, abstain altogether 
from drinking. Her bed was composed of rough logs 
strewn with bits of broken glass and earthenware. 
She denied herself even the scanty and troubled sleep 
she might have obtained on this instrument of tor- 
ture, devising all sorts of painful expedients for keep- 
ing herself awake, that she might watch with her 

In addition to these and many other austerities, she 
took a severe discipline several times in the day, and 
wore on her head, dexterously concealed beneath her 
veil, a triple silver crown armed with ninety-nine 
sharp points, in memory of the crown of thorns of 
her Divine Spouse. On one occasion, when her 
mother insisted on placing a wreath of flowers on her 
head, Rose fastened it with a needle, which she ran 
so deeply into the flesh that it could with difficulty 
be removed at night. In the midst of all these terrible 
self-inflicted sufferings, the Saint's face was always 
serene and cheerful ; and she showed perfect readiness 

Dominican Saints 245 

to obey her confessors in everything which related to Aug. 30 
her penitential exercises. 

Saint Rose was the most loving and dutiful of 
daughters, and devoted ten hours every day to work- 
ing with her needle for the support of her family; 
for, though the De Flores were of noble descent, 
they were in very straitened circumstances. She had 
to undergo a painful persecution from her friends on 
account of her refusal to marry. Soon after this, 
she built herself a little wooden cell in a remote 
part of the garden, and there she spent the entire 
day in solitude, only returning to the house late 
at night. This little cell became to her a paradise of 
delights. As she sat at her work, her Divine Spouse 
would often appear to her in the form of an infant 
of surpassing beauty, lying on her book or on her 
cushion, stretching out His little arms to her, and 
telling her that, as she wished to belong entirely to 
Him, so He wished to be all hers, to take her heart 
and to give her His in exchange. 

Like all faithful servants of God, Saint Rose had 
to suffer continual assaults from the devil, and, for 
the last sixteen years of her life, she was required 
to bear for an hour or more every day the most 
terrible spiritual desolation, in which her memory 
was completely obscured and she seemed to herself 
to be enduring the torments of Purgatory or Hell. 
But she manfully combated the attacks of the evil 
one with the arms of profound humility and bound- 
less confidence in God, and in her dereliction aban- 
doned herself wholly to the Divine will. 

From childhood she had earnestly desired to wear 
the Dominican habit, with which her beloved patroness 
and model, Saint Catharine of Siena, had been clothed; 
and in the twenty-first year of her age she was 
admitted into the Third Order, continuing to reside, 

246 Dominican Saints 

Aug. 30 as before, in her parents' house. Our Lord was 
pleased mystically to espouse her to Himself with 
the words, " Rose of My heart, be thou My Spouse." 
From that time He took upon Himself to provide for 
the wants of her family, leaving the Saint free to 
devote her time to the service of the poor, the sick, 
and the afflicted. In her zeal for souls she was a true 
daughter of Saint Dominic, and was spiritually envious 
of missionaries whose sex and vocation enabled them 
to carry the light of faith to the Indians and die a 
martyr's death. 

The last three years of her life were spent under the 
roof of Don Gonzalo de Massa, who held an important 
post under the Viceroy, and whose wife was tenderly 
attached to her. It was in the house of these kind 
friends that she was attacked by her last illness, and 
there she died, repeating the words : ' ' Jesus, Jesus be 
with me," on the 24th of August, A.D. 1617. Many 
miracles and heavenly favours have been granted 
through her intercession. She was beatified by Cle- 
ment IX., A.D. 1668, and canonized by Clement X., 
A.D. 1671, and has been declared Patroness of America 
and of the Philippine Islands. 


Almighty God, the Giver of all good gifts, who wast 
pleased that Blessed Rose, early watered by the dew 
of Thy grace, should flourish in the Indies in all the 
beauty of virginity and patience, grant unto us, Thy 
servants, that, running in the odour of her sweetness, 
we may be found worthy to become the good odour of 
Christ. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 247 


Blessed Guala, Bishop and Confessor 

(A.D. 1244) 

BLESSED GUALA was born of noble parents at Sep. 3 
Bergamo in Italy, towards the close of the twelfth 
century. When our holy Father, Saint Dominic, 
came to preach and to found a Convent of the Order 
in that city, Guala was the first to receive the habit 
from his hands. He accompanied the holy Patriarch 
to Bologna, and was employed by him in the 
foundation of the Monastery of Saint Agnes for 
the Sisters in that city, and afterwards in founding 
the Order at Brescia. It was whilst he was Prior 
in this latter place that he was favoured with a 
revelation of the glory of his holy Patriarch. Having 
prayed for him on the 6th of August, A.D. 1221, 
believing him to be still lying sick at Bologna, he fell 
asleep, leaning against the belfry of the church, and 
he seemed to see two ladders let down from an 
opening in the sky above him. At the top of one 
stood our Divine Lord, and His Blessed Mother was 
at the summit of the other. Angels were going up 
and down the ladders, and at their foot was seated one 
clothed in the habit of the Order, but his face was 
covered with his hood, in the manner in which the 
Friars were wont to cover the face of the dead when 
carried out for burial. The ladders were drawn up 
into heaven, and he saw the unknown Friar received 
into the company of the angels, surrounded by 
dazzling glory, and borne to the very feet of Jesus. 
Guala awoke, not knowing what the vision might 
mean, and, hastening to Bologna, he found that his 

248 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 3 great Patriarch had breathed his last at the very 
moment at which it had appeared to him. This vision 
is commemorated in the 3rd Antiphon of Lauds of our 
holy Father's Office : " Scala cceli prominent " &c. 

Father Bartholomew of Trent, who was an intimate 
friend of Blessed Guala's, relates, that, when Saint 
Dominic's Office was celebrated for the first time at 
Bologna after his canonization, Blessed Guala, who by 
that time had been raised to the episcopal dignity, 
came to keep the joyful festival with his Brethren, and 
that they made him sing the Antiphon commemora- 
tive of his own vision, which he did with the utmost 

Contemporary writers tell us that Blessed Guala was 
" a man of consummate prudence, acquainted with the 
world, of distinguished manners, a true religious, and 
an eloquent preacher; and that these qualities gained 
for him unparalleled influence both at the Papal and 
Imperial Courts." He also enjoyed great popularity 
in Lombardy, where he did much to restore peace and 
concord between the rival factions of Guelphs and 
Ghibellines. Whilst still a simple Friar, he was 
invested with the dignity of Apostolic Legate, and 
succeeded in bringing about a reconciliation between 
the Pope and the Emperor, Frederic II. It was pro- 
bably about A.D. 1230 that he was made Bishop of 
Brescia. He governed his diocese with so much zeal, 
charity, prudence, and holiness, that he earned for 
himself the title of Father of the poor and Advocate of 
widows and orphans. After undergoing many trials 
in defence of the liberties of his Church, he was driven 
into exile by hostile factions, and spent five years in 
retirement and study in a Convent of the Order of Val 
Umbrosa, near Bergamo. Returning at length to his 
See, he was welcomed back with universal joy, and 
again sedulously devoted himself to all the duties of a 

Dominican Saints 249 

good pastor. In the year 1244, he was invited to Sep. 3 
Bergamo to lay the foundation-stone of the Church of 
Saint Stephen. Scarcely was the solemn rite con- 
cluded when the holy Bishop was struck down by 
mortal illness. He died in the Convent of Astino on 
the 3rd of September. Blessed Guala has always been 
honoured as a Saint, and many miracles have been 
worked at his tomb. He was beatified by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst adorn Blessed Guala, Confessor 
and Bishop, with a singular grace for establishing Thy 
people in peace and piety, grant us by his intercession, 
that, sedulously following the ways of peace, we may 
obtain abundant fruits of piety. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Catharine of Racotiigi, Virgin 

(A.D. 1486-1547) 

BLESSED CATHARINE was bom at Raconigi in Pied- Sep. 5 
mont, A.D. 1486. The place of her birth was an old 
half-ruined hut, exposed to all the inclemency of 
the weather, for her parents had been reduced to ex- 
treme poverty in consequence of the war then raging 
between the Duke of Savoy and the Marquis of 
Saluzzo. The child had to suffer many hardships from 
her infancy, but she bore all with patience, and even 
in those tender years was honoured with many wonder- 
ful tokens of the Divine favour. One day she broke a 
cup which her mother greatly valued, and, as she was 
weeping inconsolably in expectation of being severely 
punished, a beautiful child suddenly appeared in the 
room, picked up the broken pieces, restored the cup to 

250 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 5 her whole and entire, and then vanished from her 
sight. At the age of five, our Blessed Lady mystically 
espoused her to the Infant Jesus, in presence of many 
angels and saints, and in particular of Saint Jerome, 
Saint Peter Martyr, and Saint Catharine of Siena. On 
this occasion, our Divine Lord gave these three Saints 
to her as her special patrons and protectors, and also 
commanded a seraph to watch over her for the re- 
mainder of her life, in addition to the angel who had 
guarded her from her birth. Her heavenly espou- 
sals with the Beloved of her soul were renewed on 
two subsequent occasions with circumstances of great 

When she was fourteen, as she was praying 
earnestly before daybreak on the Feast of Saint 
Stephen, and telling that glorious Protomartyr that 
the Apostles had especially given women into his keep- 
ing, and that therefore she hoped he would take her 
under his protection and help her to preserve her 
virginity, he appeared to her, bidding her be of good 
courage, for her prayer was heard, and she should 
presently be filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. 
Then three rays of light descended upon her, and she 
heard a voice saying : " I am come to dwell in thee, 
and to purge, illuminate, enkindle, and animate thy 
soul." Nor was this the only time on which she 
visibly received the Holy Ghost. He had come upon 
her in the form of a dove when she was only five 
years old ; and He came on two later occasions, once 
as a shining cloud, and again under the form of 
tongues of fire. 

One Christmas night, as she was meditating on the 
birth of the Divine Infant, the seraph who had been 
given as her guardian transported her to Bethlehem, 
where she beheld the Holy Child in vision, and was 
permitted to take Him into her arms and caress Him. 

Dominican Saints 251 

Several times her Divine Spouse took her heart out of Sep. 5 
her body to cleanse and beautify it, as He had done to 
her patroness, Saint Catharine of Siena. Indeed, the 
tokens of Divine favour granted to her bore a strong 
resemblance to those bestowed on the seraphic Saint 
of Siena, and the whole character of the sanctity of 
both was, so to speak, cast in the same mould. 

Like Saint Catharine, she became a member of the 
Third Order of Saint Dominic, still continuing to live 
amongst seculars; like her, too, she received the im- 
pression of the sacred Stigmata, which, by her own 
request, were invisible to the eyes of others. She was 
permitted to share in the sufferings caused to her 
Divine Spouse by His crown of thorns; she often 
received Holy Communion in a miraculous manner; 
and, like Saint Thomas Aquinas, she was girded by 
the hands of angels. The words, "Jesu, spes mea" 
"Jesus my Hope," were several times inscribed in 
letters of gold upon her heart. 

And all the while this wonderful life of visions and 
raptures was being lived, Blessed Catharine's surround- 
ings were those of a poor peasant woman, obliged 
to work hard to earn daily bread for herself and her 
family. She would sometimes feel tempted to repine 
at being thus continually kept at her weaving without 
a moment's respite ; and once, when she was only nine 
years old, as she thought of the hunger and want her 
poor mother had to endure, she leant her head on her 
loom and burst into tears, fervently commending the 
misery of her home to the providence of God. Then 
her Divine Spouse appeared to her under the form of a 
child as forlorn and destitute as herself and asked an 
alms of her. She answered, that, much as she would 
have desired to help Him, she had not then a single 
thing on earth that she could bestow. Then the Holy 
Child made Himself known to her, gave her a piece of 

252 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 5 money to provide food for the family, and encouraged 
her to bear poverty cheerfully after His example. 

As a true daughter of Saint Dominic, Blessed Catha- 
rine was full of zeal for souls, and once besought her 
Divine Spouse to shut the mouth of Hell. When told 
that her desire was an impossible one, she implored 
that He would exercise His justice on herself and have 
compassion on poor sinners. She was often taken in 
a miraculous manner to visit persons who lived at a 
great distance from her home, that she might warn 
them of the spiritual dangers which threatened them. 
By her prayers and penances she obtained the release 
of many souls from Purgatory, and she was some- 
times permitted to take their sufferings upon herself, 
and thus to hasten their admission to the joys of 

After a life of wonderful union with God and entire 
self-renunciation, she died, abandoned by her friends 
and deprived even of her Confessor, on September 4, 
A.D. 1547, in her sixty-second year. She was beatified 
by Pius VII. 


O Lord, our Hope, who didst enrich with an abund- 
ance of celestial gifts the heart of Blessed Catharine, 
already filled with Thee, grant, through the interces- 
sion of that glorious Virgin, that He may be wholly 
fastened to our hearts, who for our sakes was wholly 
fastened to the cross, Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 253 


Blessed Berfratid of Garrigua, Confessor 

(A.D. 1230) 

BLESSED BERTRAND was a native of Garrigua, a Sep. 6 
little place in the South of France, apparently a fief or 
farm belonging to the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady at 
Bosquet. He was brought up by the nuns of that 
Abbey, and received an education which fitted him for 
Holy Orders. From his youth he had had sad and 
personal experience of the terrible condition to which 
the ravages of the Albigensian heretics had reduced 
the fair provinces of Southern France. In the year 
1 200, Raymond VI., Count of Toulouse, had overrun 
the country at the head of an army of these miscreants, 
directing his attacks chiefly on the monasteries and 
churches. Blessed Bertrand's kind benefactresses, the 
good nuns of Bosquet, had been obliged to seek refuge 
in flight ; and their abbey might have been razed to the 
ground, had not one of their vassals had the happy 
inspiration to overturn some beehives which stood on 
the walls, and the exasperated bees drove the enemy 
back in confusion. 

It was quite natural, therefore, that as soon as he 
was ordained priest, Blessed Bertrand should volun- 
teer to join the mission then being conducted by the 
Cistercian monks to reclaim the people from the errors 
of the Albigenses, and thus become acquainted with 
our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, who was then taking 
part in the same holy enterprise. From the first day 
that they met, a common sympathy in divine things 
knit their hearts together. Thus the ancient chroniclers 
of the Order speak of Blessed Bertrand as "the 

254 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 6 beloved companion of Dominic/' " the dearest associate 
in all his labours, the sharer in his devotions," " the 
imitator of his sanctity," and "the inseparable com- 
panion of his journeys." " By his watchings, his fasts, 
and his other penances he succeeded," says Bernard 
Guidonis, "in so perfectly imprinting on his own per- 
son the likeness of his beloved Father, that one might 
have said, seeing him pass by, 'Truly the disciple is 
like the master ; there goes the very portrait of Saint 

After making his profession at Prouille on the Feast 
of the Assumption, A.D. 1217, in company with the 
other fifteen first companions of the holy Patriarch, 
Blessed Bertrand was one of those chosen to lay the 
foundations of the Order in Paris; and two years later 
we find him again visiting that city, on this latter 
occasion as the companion of Saint Dominic. The 
details of this journey Blessed Jordan learnt from 
Blessed Bertrand's own lips. The two holy travellers, 
going from Toulouse by way of Rocamadour, spent the 
night devoutly in that celebrated sanctuary of Our 
Lady. The next day, as they travelled along, they 
overtook some German pilgrims and were miraculously 
enabled to understand their language. In an earlier 
journey made by Blessed Bertrand in the Saint's com- 
pany, they remained untouched by torrents of rain 
which fell around them. 

It is related of Blessed Bertrand, that he constantly 
wept for his sins, for which he was wont to do exces- 
sive penance. Saint Dominic, however, reproved him, 
and enjoined him rather to weep and pray for the sins 
of others. And this charge had such an effect on the 
soul of Blessed Bertrand, that from that time, even if 
he wished, he was not able to weep for his own sins ; 
but, when he mourned for those of others, his tears 
would flow in great abundance. He was accustomed 

Dominican Saints 255 

every day to say Mass for sinners ; and being asked Sep. 6 
by one Brother Benedict, a prudent man, why he so 
rarely celebrated Mass for the dead and so frequently 
for sinners, he replied : " We are certain of the sal- 
vation of the faithful departed, whereas we remain 
tossed about in many perils." "Then," said Brother 
Benedict, " if there were two beggars, the one with all 
his limbs sound, and the other quite disabled, which 
would you compassionate the most ? " And he re- 
plied : " The one certainly who can do least for him- 
self." " If so," said Brother Benedict, " such certainly 
are the dead, who have neither mouth to confess nor 
hands to work, but who ask our help ; whereas living 
sinners have mouths and hands, and with them can 
take care of themselves." Blessed Bertrand, however, 
remained unconvinced. But the following night there 
appeared to him a terrible vision of a departed soul, 
who with a bundle of wood pressed and weighed 
upon him after a strange fashion; and, waking him 
up Piore than ten times that same night, marvel- 
lously vexed and troubled him. Therefore, the fol- 
lowing morning he called Brother Benedict to him 
and told him all that had befallen him in the night; 
and then religiously and with many tears going 
to the altar, he offered the Holy Sacrifice for the 
departed, and from that time very frequently did the 

After filling the office of Prior of Saint Remain's at 
Toulouse, Blessed Bertrand was appointed the first 
Provincial of Provence, which then included the whole 
of Southern France. He devoted himself earnestly to 
the work of preaching up to the time of his death, 
which took place at the Abbey of Bosquet, about 
A.D. 1230. Twenty-three years afterwards, his body 
was found whole and incorrupt. The precious remains 
were sacrilegiously burnt by the Huguenots in the six- 

256 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 6 teenth century, but the devotion to him has subsisted 
even to our own day. He was beatified by Pope 
Leo XIII. 


O God, who didst give to the Blessed Patriarch, 
Saint Dominic, Blessed Bertrand as an excellent 
companion and imitator, grant us, through his pious 
intercession, so to walk in his footsteps as to obtain 
his rewards. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Cbe Commemoration of our fiolp 7 after. 
Saint Dominic, in Soriano 

(A.D. 1530) 

Sep. 15 THE event commemorated in this festival is the 
appearance in the Dominican Convent of Soriano, 
in the extreme south of Italy, of a miraculous picture 
of Saint Dominic, which is still preserved, and is held 
in the utmost veneration even in our own day. A 
certain Father Vincent of Catanzara in Calabria, in the 
year 1510, was thrice commanded by Saint Dominic in 
vision to found a Convent of the Order at Soriano, a 
work which he accomplished in spite of considerable 
obstacles which were not overcome without miraculous 
intervention. It had been decided that the Convent 
should be built on the plain, but the cross which had 
been planted to mark the destined site was found to 
have been mysteriously removed in the night to the 
hill on which the building was eventually erected, and 
where it still stands. 

Several years later, on September 15, A.D. 1530, 
just as the religious were assembling to chant Matins 

Dominican Saints 257 

at midnight, the Sacristan suddenly beheld three ladies Sep. 15 
of majestic aspect enter the church, which he knew 
he had left locked before retiring to rest. One of 
them addressed him, asking to whom the church was 
dedicated and whether it contained a picture of its 
patron. The Friar replied that the church was dedi- 
cated to Saint Dominic, but that, owing to the great 
poverty of the Community, only a badly painted fresco 
of the Saint was to be found upon its walls. Then the 
unknown lady put into his hands a roll of canvas, 
which till then she had carried in her hand, and bade 
him take it to his Superior, who bore the title of Vicar, 
the little Convent not having yet been erected into 
a Priory. The Vicar, astonished at the sight of the 
picture, which proved to be a portrait of Saint Dominic, 
hastened to the church to thank the giver, but all 
three mysterious visitors had disappeared, though the 
outer doors still remained locked. The following night 
Saint Catharine of Alexandria appeared to one of the 
Fathers, who had a great devotion to her, and told him, 
in answer to his prayers, that the donor of the picture 
was no other than the Blessed Virgin, and that the two 
who had accompanied her were the patronesses of the 
Order, Saint Mary Magdalen and herself. 

In obedience to the express command given by Our 
Lady to the Sacristan when bestowing the picture, 
it was placed over the High Altar; but, as the wall 
against which it hung was extremely damp, the Fathers 
afterwards decided on removing it to another altar, 
near the door of the church. The following morning, 
however, the picture was again found hanging over the 
High Altar. The Vicar, believing that it had been 
removed thither by the Sacristan from a desire to 
execute to the letter the orders given him by the 
Mother of God, severely reproved him, and had the 
picture carried back to the altar agreed upon. The 


258 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 15 next day, it once more appeared over the High Altar. 
Again the Sacristan was charged with obstinacy and 
disobedience. In vain he protested that he had never 
touched the picture. The Vicar ordered it to be 
replaced near the door, and on the following night 
locked the church himself and kept the keys in his own 
possession. Nevertheless on the third morning it was 
again discovered over the High Altar. Convinced at 
length that its removal was the work of no human 
hand, the Vicar allowed it to remain in the spot which 
Our Lady had chosen for it, and where it has ever 
since remained, miraculously preserved from being 
injured by the damp. 

When the picture was exposed to public veneration, 
a multitude of prodigies took place, the account of 
which fills volumes. No less than sixteen hundred of 
these miracles, juridically attested, took place within 
the space of seventy-eight years. 

Pope Innocent XII., in the year 1644, granted a 
festival in commemoration of this event and of the vast 
number of miracles vouchsafed before the holy picture. 

On September 15, A.D. 1870, just five days before 
the sacrilegious occupation of Rome by the troops of 
Victor Emmanuel, a new prodigy took place at Soriano. 
A wooden statue of our holy Father, Saint Dominic, 
of life-size, had been exposed in the sanctuary on 
occasion of the festival, and was to be carried in pro- 
cession in the evening. This statue was suddenly seen 
to move like a preacher in the pulpit ; it advanced and 
drew back ; the right arm rose and fell ; the counten- 
ance became animated, sometimes assuming a severe 
and threatening aspect, at other times appearing sad, 
or again full of sweetness and reverence as it turned 
towards the picture of our Lady of the Rosary. This ex- 
traordinary spectacle lasted for an hour and a half, and 
was witnessed by about two thousand persons. Some 

Dominican Saints 259 

of the bystanders, to satisfy themselves that there was Sep. 15 
no trickery in the matter, removed all the surroundings 
of the statue and completely stripped the table on 
which it was standing. These measures only served 
to place the miraculous nature of the occurrence beyond 
the possibility of a doubt. A juridical inquiry was 
held by order of the Bishop of Mileto, in whose 
diocese Soriano is situated, and the extraordinary 
event was announced to the Order in a circular letter 
by the Most Reverend Father Alexander Vincent 
Jandel, who was then General. In a private letter 
written by his Paternity shortly afterwards he says : 
" I think our holy Father, Saint Dominic, meant to 
warn us of the impending scourges, and to summon us 
to do penance; but this warning is in itself an act of 
mercy on the part of Him who strikes only to heal." 


O God, who hast vouchsafed to enlighten Thy 
Church by the merits and teachings of Thy blessed 
Confessor, our holy Father, Saint Dominic, grant at 
his intercession that it may never be destitute of 
temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual 
growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed imclda Cambertini, Virgin 

(A.D. 1322-1333) 

BLESSED IMELDA was born at Bologna in Italy Sep. 16 
about A.D. 1322, of the family of the Lambertini, 
distinguished alike for nobility and piety. Her father 
was a rich, brave, and powerful nobleman, who filled 
several important posts and was remarkable for his 

260 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 18 charity to the poor, and especially to the mendicant 
religious orders. His wife, Castora, was worthy of 
him. She had a particular devotion to pray for the 
souls in Purgatory, and for their relief she multiplied 
her charitable donations to monasteries and churches. 
Like the Child Jesus, Imelda grew in wisdom, age, 
and grace with God and men. From her earliest 
years she took little interest in the ordinary amuse- 
ments of her age, but listened eagerly to holy stories 
and religious instruction, and gave herself entirely to 
a life of devotion. She made a little oratory for 
herself, wherein she delighted in reciting the Psalms 
and other prayers. 

When Imelda had entered on her tenth year, she 
was placed in the Dominican Convent of Saint Mary 
Madalen, situated at Val di Pietra, at the foot of 
the hills which lie to the south of Bologna. The 
laws of the Church which now regulate the age for 
admission to the noviciate had not then been enacted ; 
it may well have been, therefore, that little Imelda 
actually embraced the religious life at this early age ; 
and this is the view of the case usually taken by the 
writers of her story. It is possible, however, that her 
pious parents, as is still sometimes done in Catholic 
countries, had only vowed her to God and Saint 
Dominic, to wear the habit for a certain number of 
years. Imelda was at this time, we are told, remark- 
ably tall for her age, fragile and delicate, and fair as 
an angel to behold. 

The young Saint threw herself heart and soul into 
the new life which had opened before her. This 
child of nine years old set herself to practise the 
austere Rule with most loving fidelity, devoting her- 
self to the exercise of prayer and penance, and by 
her fervour rendering herself a model even to the 
oldest and most saintly of the Community. She 

Dominican Saints 261 

erected a little Calvary in the most remote part of Sep. 16 
the garden, and thither she loved to retire, in order 
to meditate undisturbed on the sufferings and death 
of her Divine Spouse. 

But her chief devotion was to Jesus hidden in the 
Sacrament of His love; and with all the ardour of 
her soul did she long for the happy day when our 
Lord would unite her to Himself in Holy Commu- 
nion. "Tell me," she would often say to her religious 
Sisters, "how is it possible to receive Jesus into 
one's heart and not to die ? " 

It appears that it was not then usual in Northern 
Italy for children to make their First Communion 
before the age of fourteen. Vainly, therefore, did 
the little Imelda over and over again beseech her 
Confessor to allow her to approach the Holy Table. 
He turned a deaf ear to all her entreaties. But He 
"who feeds amongst the lilies," and who, when He 
was on earth, said, " Suffer little children to come to 
Me, and forbid them not," would not allow the loving 
young heart to be disappointed. 

It was the last of the Rogation Days, May 12, A.D. 
1333. The two years which she had now spent in the 
religious life and the approach of the great festival 
of the Ascension had caused the flames of Divine 
love to burn more brightly than ever in the breast of 
Imelda. All the nuns approached the Holy Table ; 
she alone knelt apart in a corner of the Choir, pouring 
forth her acts of fervent desire, and weeping bitterly 
because she was not allowed to share their happiness. 
The Mass was over; the priest had left the altar; 
the lights were extinguished ; the Community had for 
the most part dispersed to discharge their various 
domestic duties; still Imelda knelt on, absorbed in 

Suddenly a heavenly fragrance filled the sacred 

262 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 16 building and diffused itself even beyond its precincts. 
It drew the Sisters back to the Choir, where a won- 
drous sight met their eyes. A radiant Host was 
suspended in the air above the head of the saintly 
child. Her Heavenly Bridegroom had heard her 
prayer, and was indeed come to make her all His 

The astonished nuns immediately summoned the 
chaplain to the spot. He came in his sacred vestments, 
with the paten in his hand, and knelt in wondering 
adoration, awaiting some further manifestation of the 
Divine will. Then the Host gently descended upon 
the paten, and the priest communicated Imelda. The 
transport of love, and joy, and gratitude was too 
great for the weak bodily frame; the happy child 
closed her eyes, and, in the kiss of the Lord, breathed 
forth her pure soul to go and make endless thanks- 
giving in heaven. 

Her holy remains now lie in the little Church of 
Saint Sigismund at Bologna. She was beatified by 
Leo XII. , A.D. 1826, and is deservedly regarded as the 
Patroness of First Communicants. Confraternities in 
her honour have been established in several places, 
the English Confraternity having its centre at Saint 
Dominic's Priory, Haverstock Hill, London. 


O Lord Jesus Christ, who, wounding the Blessed 
Virgin Imelda with the fire of Thy love, and miracu- 
lously feeding her with the Immaculate Host, didst 
receive her into heaven, grant us, through her interces- 
sion, to approach the Holy Table with the same fervour 
of charity, that we may long to be dissolved, and deserve 
to be with Thee, who livest and reignest for ever and 
ever. Amen. 

Dominican Saints 263 


Blessed Francis Possadas, Confessor 

(A.D. 1643-1713) 

1643, at Cordova, in Spain, of a family which had 
fallen from its ancient position of nobility into a state 
of poverty. Whilst still an infant, the name of Mary 
was found miraculously imprinted over his heart, and 
it was the first that his baby lips were heard to utter. 
From his earliest years he gave evidence of the 
tenderest piety. He daily recited the Rosary and 
practised other exercises of devotion whilst still a 
child. His mother, who was a very pious woman, 
seeing his great attraction to religion, wished him 
to enter the Order of Saint Dominic, and had him 
educated with that view. But after his father's 
death she married again, and Francis was cruelly 
treated by his step-father, who insisted on his giving 
up his studies and being put to learn some useful 
trade. This was accordingly done ; but the pious 
youth never abandoned his holy purpose, and by 
his unfailing obedience and sweetness of temper so 
won his master's favour as to obtain his leave to 
continue his studies. He was at last allowed to enter 
the noviciate in the Dominican Convent of Scala 
Coeli ; but, as a further trial of his constancy, God 
permitted that his true worth and character should 
not be at first appreciated by his Brethren and 
Superiors. He was treated with contempt and harsh- 
ness, all which he endured with unalterable patience, 
until at length justice was done him, and the Com- 
munity, recognising his sanctity and full of admira- 

264 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 20 tion at the wonderful patience with which he had 
borne their unkindness, unanimously consented to his 
being admitted to the priesthood. 

Blessed Francis led a life of prayer and penance, 
joined to marvellous activity in labouring for the 
salvation of souls. He set before himself as his 
model for imitation the glorious Saint Vincent Ferrer, 
whom he chose as his special patron. The success 
which attended his preaching was scarcely less 
wonderful than that which resulted from the apostolic 
ministry of Saint Vincent. His example, even more 
than his inflamed discourses, produced so extra- 
ordinary an effect on the hearts of his hearers that 
he obtained almost boundless influence over them. 
In his native city of Cordova, he set himself, and 
that with marvellous success, to the difficult task of 
reforming the public morals, which were in a state of 
lamentable corruption. By the power of his preach- 
ing, the citizens were at length induced to close all 
the theatres and places of public amusement, which 
had formerly been scenes of immorality and disorder. 

His chief delight was to minister to the poor, the 
sick, and the imprisoned, providing for their bodily 
as well as for their spiritual needs. Very often he 
was known to continue from sunrise to sunset in- 
structing the poor and ignorant in the mysteries of 
the faith. He refused all positions of authority in 
the Order, and could not be induced to accept two 
bishoprics which were offered to him at different 
times. So profound was his humility, that he not 
only exercised the lowliest offices in the House, but 
even rejoiced in being despised, calumniated, and in- 
sulted. He had to undergo terrible conflicts with 
the devil, from all of which he came forth victorious. 
He was endowed with the gifts of prophecy, discern- 
ment of spirits, and other supernatural favours. 

Dominican Saints 265 

At length, having exercised the duties of a confessor Sep. 20 
and preacher for about forty years, he calmly slept 
in the Lord on the 2Oth of September, A.D. 1713. 
His heroic virtues having been confirmed by miracles, 
he was beatified by Pius VII. 


O God, who didst raise up Blessed Francis, Thy 
Confessor, imbued with the sweetness of heavenly 
charity, to be an illustrious preacher of Thy Word, 
grant, through his intercession, that we may be 
kindled with the fire of Thy love, and ever live in 
Thy charity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Dalmatius IKoner, Confessor 

(A.D. 1291-1341) 

BLESSED DALMATIUS MONER was born of pious Sep. 26 
and respectable parents at a small town in Catalonia, 
about A.D. 1291. From childhood he was distin- 
guished for innocence and piety. He received a 
good education at Girona, which was completed at 
the University of Montpellier. Entering the Domini- 
can Order at the age of twenty-five, he made it his 
lifelong study perfectly to conform his conduct to the 
requirements of the Rule and Constitutions. He was 
employed for many years in teaching, but at length 
humbly resigned this office from a desire to devote 
himself more closely to the service of God. 

Blessed Dalmatius led a life of extreme penance 
and mortification. He seldom ate anything but herbs 
and vegetables, almost raw, and in the burning heat 
of a Spanish summer would entirely abstain from 

266 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 26 drinking for as many as twenty consecutive days. 
His scanty rest was taken on the bare ground; he 
afflicted his body with continual fasts, disciplines, 
and other austerities, and devoted himself day and 
night to the exercises of prayer and contemplation. 
He loved to pray in solitary places in the open air, 
the sights and sounds of nature helping to raise his 
mind and heart to God. One day when he had 
been thus satisfying his devotion in a secluded valley, 
one of his Brethren went in search of him, but could 
find him nowhere, until, chancing to raise his eyes, 
he beheld the object of his search raised in extasy 
on a level with the top of a lofty tree which grew 
on the brow of the adjacent hill. Nor was it an 
unusual sight to see him thus suspended in the air. 
Blessed Dalmatius practised the most rigid poverty, 
never taking with him any provisions when on a 
journey, and even refusing the alms which were 
offered him. He preferred to put his whole trust 
in God, who often sent him help in his necessities 
by the ministry of angels. Every night when he 
chanted the Benedicite at Lauds, these celestial spirits 
came and sang it with him ; and so familiar was 
his intercourse with them, that he was commonly 
known by the name of " the Friar who converses 
with the angels." 

To conceal his devotional exercises from the eyes 
of others, he used to retire by day to a cave which 
he had found in the neighbouring hills, and at night 
he would hide himself in some secret part of the 
church. His love of retirement and the great de- 
votion which he bore to Saint Mary Magdalen in- 
duced him to apply for permission to go and end 
his days at La Sainte Baume in Provence, which for 
thirty years had been the scene of the prayers, aus- 
terities, and raptures of that holy penitent, and which 

Dominican Saints 267 

then, as now, was served by the sons of Saint Sep. 26 
Dominic. The desired leave was granted, and Blessed 
Dalmatius visited the hallowed spot with unspeakable 
devotion, but it was not God's will that he should 
take up his abode there, and he accordingly returned 
to Girona. Here he hollowed out a cave for himself, 
apparently in the Convent grounds, and there lived 
for four years, never leaving it save when the bell 
summoned him to the Choir or Refectory with the 
other Brethren. This penitential abode was dripping 
with wet and the resort of serpents; but to him it 
was indeed the gate of heaven. 

The miracles of Blessed Dalmatius were very nume- 
rous and striking, and he gained many signal victo- 
ries over the powers of darkness. 

He died in his beloved cave, whilst in the act of 
raising his clasped hands to heaven, on the 24th 
of September, A.D. 1341. After his death, his 
countenance, which in life had been very dark and 
disfigured by his excessive penances, became wonder- 
fully fair and beautiful. He is believed to have pre- 
served his baptismal innocence unsullied throughout 
his whole life. Blessed Dalmatius is specially invoked 
for relief from toothache ; and it is a frequent custom 
to dedicate infants to him by vow when they are 
cutting their teeth, in consequence of the many 
miracles worked by means of one of his teeth, which 
is preserved in a silver reliquary in the Sacristy at 
Girona. He was beatified by Benedict XIII. 


O God, who didst make Thy humble servant 
Dalmatius glorious for many miracles and virtues, 
and didst wonderfully inflame him with Thy love, 
to the despising of all earthly things, grant, we 
beseech Thee, through his intercession, that we may 

268 Dominican Saints 

Sep. 26 be disengaged from all earthly affections and freed 
from all adversities, and have no desire but for the 
things of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Rosarp Sundap 

ist Sunday in October 

ist Sun. THE devotion of the Holy Rosary is the great 
' treasure bequeathed by our holy Father, Saint 
Dominic, to his Order and to the Church. A 
certain obscurity hangs over its origin, but a wide- 
spread tradition asserts that it was revealed to the 
Holy Patriarch by our Blessed Lady herself during 
his labours in Languedoc for the conversion of the 
Albigensian heretics, and that by preaching his de- 
votion he gathered an immense harvest of souls. 
Pope Clement VIII. declares that Saint Dominic first 
established the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary in 
the Church of Saint Sixtus in Rome, and he is 
known to have established it also at Palencia in 
Spain. There can be no doubt that the use of the 
Hail Mary as a popular devotion dates from the 
beginning of the thirteenth century ; though it is im- 
possible to determine whether the preaching of the 
Rosary spread the more universal use of the Angelic 
Salutation, or whether it was the increasing love 
and popularity of that prayer which moved the holy 
Patriarch to adopt it. 

During the fifteenth century, however, which was 
a period of general religious declension, the " Roses 
of Mary," as they had been popularly called, fell 
into partial oblivion and neglect, until, towards the 
close of the century, they were revived by the preach- 
ing of the celebrated Dominican, Blessed Alan de la 
Roche, a Breton by birth. It is interesting to be 

Dominican Saints 269 

able to record that in England at least the Rosary ist Sun. 
never fell into disuse, but enjoyed undiminished m 
popularity all through the thirteenth, fourteenth, 
and fifteenth centuries ; and that Henry VI. pre- 
scribed that the scholars of Eton College, founded 
by him in the year 1440, should daily recite " the 
complete Psalter of the Blessed Virgin, consisting 
of a Credo, fifteen Paters, one hundred and fifty 
Ave Marias? It is of course beyond question 
that the children of Saint Patrick, ever devout to 
our Blessed Lady, were ever faithful to the devotion 
of the Rosary ; and that in the evil days, as they 
would rather have given their lives than deny God 
and His Holy Mother, so they would rather have 
shed their blood than part with their beads. 

The solemnity which we celebrate on the first 
Sunday of October, was established in thanksgiving 
for the great naval victory gained by the Christians 
over the Turks at Lepanto on Sunday, October 7, 
A.D. 15/1. On that memorable day, all the Confra- 
ternities of the Rosary in Rome had assembled in 
the Dominican Church of the Minerva to offer their 
devotions for a blessing on the Christian arms through 
the . intercession of Mary. The Pope, Saint Pius V., 
himself a Friar Preacher, had attended the procession ; 
and, on his return to the Vatican, God was pleased to 
reveal to him that the Queen of the Holy Rosary had 
even in that hour obtained a glorious victory for the 
Christian fleet. In testimony of his gratitude, the 
Holy Pontiff decreed that the 7th of October should 
henceforth be kept as the Feast of our Lady of 
Victories. But Gregory XIII. , admiring the modesty 
of his predecessor, who had not chosen to make 
mention of the Rosary, for fear he should be deemed 
to have sought to promote the honour of his Order 
rather than the spread of truth, ordained that in 

270 Dominican Saints 

ist Sun. future the Feast of our Lady of Victories should be 
m Oct * kept on the first Sunday in October in all Dominican 
churches and wherever the Confraternity of the 
Rosary existed, under the new title of the Festival 
of the Most Holy Rosary, which until that time had 
been on March 25, the Festival of the Annunciation. 
This was finally extended to the universal Church 
by Clement XII., who changed the wording of the 
Roman Martyrology to its present form : " The com- 
memoration of Holy Mary of Victory, which Pope 
Pius V. ordained to be observed every year, in 
memory of a famous victory gained at sea this day 
by the Christians over the Turks, through the help 
of the Mother of God; and Gregory XIII. for the 
same reason likewise ordained that the annual 
solemnity of the Rosary of the same most Blessed 
Virgin should be kept on the first Sunday of this 

In our own day, the devotion of the Holy Rosary 
has received a fresh impulse from the Encyclical Letters 
published year after year by our Holy Father, Leo 
XIII., whom we may call "the Pope of the Rosary," 
and who has constantly urged on the faithful the use 
of this salutary devotion, both as an excellent means 
of personal sanctification, an efficacious form of inter- 
cessory prayer, and a powerful weapon against the 
enemies of the Church. His Holiness has likewise 
extended to the universal Church the practice, hitherto 
confined to the Dominican Order, of consecrating the 
whole month of October in a special manner to our 
Lady of the Rosary. 


O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, 
and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of 
eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that, meditating 

Dominican Saints 271 

on these mysteries in the Most Holy Rosary of the ist Sun. 
Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they con- m * 
tain and obtain what they promise. Through the 
same Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed 3ol)ti ittassias, ap Brother, 

(A.D. 1585-1645) 

BLESSED JOHN MASSIAS was a Spaniard of noble Oct. 3 
descent, and was born at Rivera, in Castile, A.D. 1585. 
His parents were very poor in this world's goods, but 
rich in virtue, and brought the child up very piously. 
When four years old, little John's mind seemed already 
to have attained the maturity of manhood. He cared 
nothing for childish sports and pastimes, but, conse- 
crating himself wholly to Our Lady, resolved to recite 
her Rosary thrice every day, a practice in which he 
persevered even until death, to the great profit of his 
soul. He loved to gather children of his own age 
around him and to instruct them in holy things. He 
lost his parents whilst still very young, and had to earn 
his bread as a shepherd. Whilst tending his flock, he 
devoted himself to prayer and holy meditation, and 
received many wonderful supernatural favours. God 
entrusted him in a special manner to the keeping 
of Saint John the Evangelist, who used often to 
appear to him under the form of a beautiful child. 
Our Lady also frequently visited him, and these two 
celestial friends would sometimes carry him away with 
them to a glorious country, which, they told him, was 
the home in which they dwelt, and which he was one 

272 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 3 day to inhabit with them. When, after these mysterious 
journeys, he returned to the hills where he had left his 
flock, he found it safely tended, having been guarded 
all the time by a beautiful lady, doubtless no other than 
the Blessed Virgin herself. Saint John also often ren- 
dered him this charitable service during his extasies, 
collected his sheep for him, and helped him to bring 
them back to the fold at night. In obedience to the 
Holy Evangelist, he crossed over to South America, 
not, like so many of his countrymen, for the sake of 
gain, but because he had been told that somewhere in 
that distant land was the place where God willed that 
he should serve Him. 

On reaching the New World, John entered the 
service of a wealthy man, and was employed for two 
years and a half in tending cattle in the vast solitudes 
of those unexplored regions. At length his vocation 
was made manifest, and he became a lay brother in 
the Dominican Convent of Saint Mary Magdalen at 
Lima, a house of strict observance, where he made 
his profession on January 22, 1623. He treated his 
body with such extreme severity that his Superiors 
were compelled to moderate his penitential practices. 
He allowed himself only one hour for sleep, and this 
he took kneeling in his cell before a picture of Our 
Lady, with his head leaning on the bed, or at the foot 
of the High Altar or Rosary Altar, or on the bare 
ground in the cloister. His food was very scanty; 
and he used to collect all that was left from the meals 
of the Community and distribute it on his knees to the 
poor with the most tender charity and devotion. His 
office of porter afforded him many opportunities of 
serving these suffering members of his Divine Master. 
He often begged for them in the city, and trained the 
Convent ass to go alone from house to house to gather 
alms for them. He daily fed two hundred poor per- 

Dominican Saints 273 

sons, and the wooden spoon is still preserved with Oct. 3 
which he distributed the food at the Convent gate, and 
with which, when his provisions were exhausted, he 
used to make the sign of the Cross over the empty 
bowl, whereupon it would immediately be once more 
filled. He took special care of the bashful poor, and 
his miracles in the exercise of his charity were very 

The sanctity of Blessed John caused him to be held 
in very great esteem, so that persons of the highest 
rank used to come to the Convent to see him, and 
commend themselves to his prayers. This was a severe 
trial to his humility, and on such occasions he gene- 
rally managed to hide from his illustrious visitors. He 
sincerely regarded himself as the worst of sinners. 
When his terrific austerities had caused a malady 
which necessitated his undergoing an extremely pain- 
ful surgical operation, he bore the long and agonising 
incisions without a groan, and, when asked how he 
could remain so motionless beneath the knife, he hum- 
bly replied : " I thought I was before the judgment 
seat of God, and that these torments were inflicted for 
my sins; and they seemed little in comparison with 
what I deserved." 

Blessed John's devotion to the Blessed Sacrament 
was very great. He used to serve all the early 
Masses until the business of the day summoned him 
from the church, and then he would assist in spirit 
at the remaining Masses, kneeling in adoration as he 
caught the distant sound of the Elevation bell. It was 
his great delight to decorate the church for the great 
festivals, and especially to adorn the line of procession 
along which the Most Holy was to be borne on Corpus 
Christi. In spite of his continual occupations, he 
daily recited three entire Rosaries on his knees. For 
fourteen years he was cruelly tormented by devils as 


274 Dominican Saints 

Oct 3 soon as he set himself to prayer, but he persevered 
faithfully and fervently in this holy exercise, in spite 
of all their efforts to drive him from it. He had a very 
special love for the crucifix which hung in the porter's 

His death-bed was a holy and happy scene. The 
Divine Master whom he had served so lovingly, our 
Lady of the Rosary, the Beloved Disciple, and many 
other Saints appeared to him and consoled him ; and 
with the words: "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I com- 
mend my spirit," he tranquilly expired on the 1 7th of 
September, A.D. 1645. His miracles both in life and 
after death were very numerous and remarkable. He 
was beatified by Gregory XVI. 


O God, who didst early endow Blessed John, Thy 
Confessor, with the plenteousness of Thy grace, and 
madest him illustrious in a lowly estate by the inno- 
cence of his life, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to 
follow his footsteps, that by purity of heart we may be 
found worthy to attain to Thee. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 


Saint Francis of flssisi, Confessor 

(A.D. 1181-1226) 

Oct. 4 THE narrow limits of this volume are insufficient for 
even an epitome of the beautiful life of the Seraphic 
Saint of Assisi, the fellow-labourer of Saint Dominic in 
the vineyard of the Lord, and honoured throughout the 
Order of Preachers under the title of the Holy Father, 
Saint Francis. It will, however, be of interest to note 
some of the spiritual links which bind together these 

Dominican Saints 275 

two holy Patriarchs, each the founder of a triple Order Oct 4 
and Father of a countless progeny of Saints. 

When Saint Francis, in the year 1210, came to the 
Eternal City to solicit from Pope Innocent III. the 
approbation of his Rule, his request met with consider- 
able opposition from the Pontiff himself, and from the 
College of Cardinals, on account of the rigid poverty 
which was prescribed for the new institute; but at 
length the Vicar of Christ yielded to the entreaties of 
the holy Patriarch, exclaiming : " Verily this is he who 
is called to support and repair the Church of God." 
Then he went on to explain how, some time previously, 
when he had fallen asleep, his mind full of anxiety 
about the troubled state of the Church, he had beheld 
in a dream the Lateran Basilica about to fall to the 
ground, but supported on the shoulders of a beggar, 
whom he recognised in the humble suppliant now 
kneeling at his feet. Five years later, when the Patri- 
arch of the Friars Preachers presented himself before 
the same Pontiff, asking permission to found his Order, 
the difficulties which stood in the way, owing to the 
recent decrees of the Council of Lateran, forbidding 
the establishment of any new religious institutes, were 
removed by a precisely similar vision, wherein the 
Pope saw the tottering Basilica supported this time on 
the shoulders of Saint Dominic. 

It was probably on occasion of this visit of our 
holy Father to Rome, in the autumn of the year 1215, 
that the twin Saints first met. One night Saint 
Dominic was praying in Saint Peter's when he saw the 
figure of our Lord in the air above his head, holding in 
His hand three darts, with which He seemed to be 
about to strike the world in punishment for its exceed- 
ing wickedness. Then our Blessed Lady prostrated 
before her Divine Son, and presented to him two 
men, whose zeal, she said, should convert sinners and 

276 Dominican Saints 

Oct 4 appease His irritated justice. In one of these men the 
Saint recognised himself; the other was totally un- 
known to him. Going the next day into a church to 
pray, he beheld the stranger of his vision clad in the 
garb of a beggar. It was Saint Francis of Assisi ; and, 
recognising him as his destined companion and brother 
in the work to which both were divinely called, he 
embraced him with tears, exclaiming: "You are my 
comrade ; you will go with me ; let us keep together, 
and nothing shall be able to prevail against us." This 
was the beginning of a lifelong friendship ; from that 
day the two Saints had but one heart and one soul in 
God. Saint Angelus the Carmelite, who afterwards 
suffered martyrdom, was also in Rome at this time, 
and is said to have preached in Saint John Lateran's in 
presence of both holy Founders, predicting their future 
greatness and the extension of their Orders. Other 
meetings between the two holy Patriarchs are recorded, 
especially one which took place at Cremona, A.D. 1220, 
when a graceful contest arose between them as to 
which of them should bless the water of a well which 
had become unfit for use. Franciscan authors repre- 
sent the two Saints as blessing the waters together; 
whereas, according to the Dominican chronicles, the 
humility of Saint Francis won the day, and the miracle 
of restoring the water to its clearness and sweet savour 
was wrought by the blessing of Saint Dominic. 

The close friendship of the two holy Founders was 
handed down by them as a sacred bequest to their 
children, and was considered of sufficient importance 
to be made a matter of legislation. Hence the Gene- 
ral Chapter of Paris, A.D. 1236, passed the following 
ordinance, which was renewed in subsequent Chapters, 
and still finds its place in the Constitutions of the 
Friars Preachers: "We declare that all our Priors 
and Brethren should have a diligent care that they 

Dominican Saints 277 

always and everywhere bear and heartily preserve a Oct 4 
great love for the Friars Minor ; let them praise them 
with their lips, and by their works kindly receive and 
courteously treat them ; and be solicitous, as far as 
they can, to be at peace with them." It has likewise 
been ordained that a commemoration should be made 
of Saint Francis whenever the Office of Saint Dominic 
is said on a Tuesday ; and, by permission of the Holy 
See, the proper Office of both holy Patriarchs is recited 
by both Orders on their respective feasts. It is, more- 
over, the custom for the Master-General of the Order 
of Preachers to sing the High Mass in the great 
Franciscan Church of Ara Cceli in Rome on the festival 
of Saint Francis, whilst the Minister-General of the 
Friars Minor officiates in the Dominican Church of 
Santa Maria sopra Minerva on the feast of our holy 
Father, Saint Dominic. Wherever it is possible, this 
practice is imitated in other convents of both Orders, 
that thus the Brethren may ever be more and more 
closely knit together in the bonds of charity. 


O God, who through the merits of our Blessed 
Father, Saint Francis, didst give increase to Thy 
Church by a new offspring, grant that, after his 
example, we may despise earthly things and ever enjoy 
a share of heavenly gifts. Through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

278 Dominican Saints 


Blessed Raymond of Capua, Confessor 

(A.D. 1330-1399) 

Oct. 5 BLESSED RAYMUND was born at Capua about A.D. 
1330, of the noble family Delle Vigne. Sent to study 
at the University of Bologna, he was miraculously 
called by Saint Dominic himself to take the habit 
of his Order, and soon became conspicuous amongst 
his Brethren for his learning, as well as for his 
humility, modesty, and exact observance of the Rule. 
The extreme delicacy of his health, however, which 
continued to be a constant source of suffering during 
his whole life, prevented him from keeping the pre- 
scribed fasts, and at length he was obliged to yield 
to the unanimous advice of both his physicians and 
spiritual directors, and relinquish the attempt. Never- 
theless, Our Lady, to whom he ever bore the most ten- 
der devotion, obtained for him the grace of being able 
to fast on bread and water on the eves of her feasts. 

Whilst still comparatively young, he was entrusted 
with the spiritual direction of some monasteries of 
religious women, and in particular with that of Saint 
Agnes of Monte Pulciano. During his residence there 
he wrote the Life of that Saint. In the year 1367 
he became Prior of the great Convent of the Min- 
erva in Rome, and in 1374 was sent as Lector to the 
Convent of Saint Dominic at Siena, where he first 
became acquainted with her, whom, in spite of her 
youth, he soon learnt to call his Mother, and with 
whose name his own will ever be indissolubly linked. 
As Saint Catharine of Siena was assisting at Father 
Raymund's Mass on the Feast of Saint John the 

Dominican Saints 279 

Baptist, she heard a voice, saying : " This is My Oct. 5 
beloved servant ; this is he to whom I will give thee," 
and she understood that he was the Confessor whom 
our Blessed Lady had promised her several years 
previously, and who was to give her more help than 
any she had yet consulted. From that day she 
placed the direction of her conscience in his hands. 

The plague was at this time raging at Siena, and 
Blessed Raymund devoted himself day and night to 
the service of the plague-stricken. He caught the 
infection, but was miraculously cured by his saintly 
penitent. The extraordinary graces granted to Saint 
Catharine at first caused considerable anxiety to her 
Confessor, who feared that she might be deluded by 
the devil. He therefore sought to put her to the 
proof by some infallible test, and desired her to ob- 
tain for him such perfect contrition for his sins as 
he had never before experienced. His petition was 
granted in a remarkable manner; and on another 
occasion his doubts were assuaged by seeing the 
face of his holy penitent suddenly transformed into 
that of our Lord. He was present when the Saint 
received the stigmata at Pisa, accompanied her in 
her visit to the Pontifical Court at Avignon, and was 
one of the Confessors who went about with her on 
her missions of peace and reconciliation, and who 
were often employed from dawn till nightfall in hear- 
ing the confessions of those whom her burning words 
had moved to repentance. 

In conjunction with Saint Catharine, Blessed Ray- 
mund took an active part in procuring the return of 
Gregory XI. to Rome, whither he was soon called 
upon to follow him. Whilst there, he was again 
elected Prior of the Minerva. In the year 1378 
the Pope died, and shortly after the election of 
his successor began that miserable Schism of the 

28o Dominican Saints 

Oct. 5 West, which was to be for full forty years the bane 
and scandal of Christendom. The lawfully elected 
Pontiff, Urban VI., sent Blessed Raymund to France, 
in the hope of detaching King Charles V. from the 
cause of the Schism. Prevented from entering that 
country by the machinations of Queen Joanna of 
Naples, he began, in conformity with further instruc- 
tions received from the Pope, to preach the crusade 
against the schismatics at Genoa ; and it was there, 
on April 29, A.D. 1380, that he received a miracu- 
lous intimation of the death of his seraphic penitent, 
Saint Catharine, who expired in Rome on that day. 

A few weeks later, at the General Chapter at 
Bologna, Blessed Raymund was elected General of 
that portion of the Order which was under the 
obedience of the lawful Pontiff. Never was General 
called upon to take up the burden of superiority 
in darker days. The great Schism had divided the 
Order as well as the Church, and the Friars of 
Spain, France, Scotland, and the two Sicilies, with 
their General, Elias of Toulouse, were, like the faith- 
ful in those countries, under the obedience of the 
Antipope. In addition to this, the terrible pestilence 
called the Black Death, which desolated Europe in 
the middle of the fourteenth century, had caused a 
great and universal relaxation of discipline, and the 
remainder of Blessed Raymund's life was devoted 
to the hard task of reform. Assisted by the devoted 
disciples of Saint Catharine of Siena, Father Thomas 
Caffarini and Father Bartholomew Dominici, and a 
number of other saintly Friars, some of whom, like 
the Blessed John Dominici, have been raised to the 
altars of the Church, he succeeded in founding a large 
number of Convents of strict observance, and earned 
for himself the title of " Second Founder " of the 
Order, which he governed with the utmost prudence, 

Dominican Saints 281 

tact, and charity, for nineteen years. Besides the Oct. 5 
arduous labours imposed on him by his office, he 
was constantly employed by the Popes in important 
and difficult negotiations. He also found time to 
write the Life of his seraphic penitent, Saint Catharine 
of Siena. His devotion to Our Lady showed itself 
by ordaining the more frequent use of the verse 
Maria Mater gratia in the Divine Office. 

Worn out by his labours for the Church and the 
Order, Blessed Raymund made a holy and happy 
end at Nuremberg, in Bavaria, on the 5th of Octo- 
ber, A.D. 1399. His holy remains were subsequently 
removed to the Church of Saint Dominic at Naples. 
Held in the utmost veneration from the time of his 
death, he was beatified by Leo XIII. A.D. 1899. 


O God, who wouldst have Blessed Raymund, Thy 
Confessor, to be a distinguished master of evangelical 
perfection and a faithful supporter of the Apostolic 
authority, graciously grant, that, living after his ex- 
ample on earth, we may deserve to be crowned with 
him in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Iftattbew Carrerit, Confessor 

(A.D. 1470) 

BLESSED MATTHEW, who received in baptism the Oct. 7 
name of John Francis, was born of pious and noble 
parents at Mantua. In his childhood and youth he 
manifested a tender love for the poor, and, from a 
desire to practise humility, loved to take upon himself 
the work of the servants in his father's house. Enter- 
ing the Dominican Order whilst still very young, he 

282 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 7 practised such extreme austerity during his noviciate 
that his Superiors found themselves compelled to re- 
strain his fervour, and, in obedience to their commands, 
he somewhat moderated the rigour of his penitential 
exercises. Nevertheless his whole life was one of 
severe penance. He was a great lover of silence and 
solitude, and, like his holy Father, Saint Dominic, 
never spoke save of God or to God. He had the 
greatest horror of vainglory, which he was wont to 
call " the subtle vice " which robs us of the merit of 
our good works unawares. So great was his fervour 
in the recitation of the Divine Office, that he often 
seemed to be rapt out of himself when engaged in that 
duty. He prepared himself by assiduous prayer for 
the work of apostolic preaching, in which he was 
employed during his whole life, and his ardent zeal 
for souls drew even the most hardened sinners to 

Going once by water from Genoa to Pisa, the ship in 
which he sailed was taken by pirates. The captain of 
the pirates was so struck with the expression of devo- 
tion that beamed on the countenance of his saintly 
prisoner that he commanded him to be instantly set 
at liberty. But Blessed Matthew, perceiving amongst 
the captives a young girl and her mother, and fearing 
that some evil might befall them, threw himself at the 
ruffian's feet, conjuring him to liberate them and to let 
him remain in captivity in their place. The heroism of 
the act so touched the pirate's heart that he granted 
freedom to all three. 

Blessed Matthew directed his attention to the refor- 
mation of his Order, and by his eloquence and wonder- 
ful powers of persuasion induced a large number of 
Convents to return to the strict observance of the Rule. 

He was very devout to the Passion, and was accus- 
tomed daily to spend several hours in contemplation of 

Dominican Saints 283 

that Divine mystery, earnestly begging that, before his Oct 7 
death, he might be permitted to suffer something of the 
anguish which his Divine Master had endured upon 
the Cross. One day, as he lay sick, absorbed in his 
customary prayer, our Lord appeared to him, and at 
the same moment he felt his heart pierced with a 
terrible and supernatural pain. Then he knew that 
his petition was granted and that his death was at 
hand. He received the last Sacraments with the 
utmost devotion, making a beautiful discourse on the 
Real Presence before receiving Holy Viaticum, and 
another after Extreme Unction. He promised the 
Prior of the Convent of Vigevano, where he died, that 
he would always take special care of that house, where 
regular observance is said never to have failed. Then, 
having placed the last act of his life under the safe- 
guard of obedience by asking and obtaining his 
Superior's permission to die, he happily departed to 
our Lord on the 5th of October, A.D. 1470. It was 
confidently believed that he had never lost his bap- 
tismal innocence. Immediately after his death he 
began to work many miracles and was held in great 
veneration. He had promised Blessed Stephana of 
Soncino, when she was only a child, that he would 
make her his heiress. At the time she had not under- 
stood the meaning of his words, but after his death 
her heart was transfixed with the same mysterious 
pain which had been so heroically borne by Blessed 
Matthew. He was beatified by Benedict XIV. 


Excite within our hearts, O Lord, the love of Thy 
Cross and Passion, that, by the intercession and 
example of Blessed Matthew, we may be partakers 
both of Thy sufferings and of Thy glory, who livest 
and reignest, &c. Amen. 

284 Dominican Saints 


Saint eu>is Bertrand, Confessor 

(A.D. 1526-1581) 

Oct. 10 SAINT LEWIS BERTRAND was one of the many great 
Saints which Catholic Spain gave to the Church in 
the sixteenth century. He was born at Valencia of 
holy parents, who were in a good position in life and 
near akin to the family of Saint Vincent Ferrer. On 
the very day of his birth, January i, A.D. 1526, he 
received the Sacrament of regeneration at the same 
font in which Saint Vincent had been baptized a cen- 
tury and a half previously. Before he was eight years 
old he began daily to recite the Office of Our Lady, and 
at an early age he obtained permission to visit and 
nurse the sick in the hospitals. To conceal his fre- 
quent Communions from the knowledge of others, he 
was accustomed to receive in different churches. When 
still quite a boy, he fled secretly from his home, intend- 
ing to spend his life as a poor pilgrim, but he was 
overtaken and brought back. 

Lewis now conceived an ardent desire to enter the 
Order of Saint Dominic, but his father, who could not 
bear to part with him, raised many obstacles in the 
way of his following out his vocation ; and it was not 
until he was nearly nineteen that he was clothed in the 
white habit he had so long coveted. He made his 
solemn vows on the 2/th of August, A.D. 1545, and two 
years later was raised to the priesthood, before he had 
attained the age of twenty-two. The fervour which 
he felt in singing his first Mass never relaxed during 
his whole life ; he was always distinguished for his 
intense devotion to the Adorable Sacrament, and he 

Dominican Saints 285 

became one of the many Saints who were instrumental Oct 10 
in God's hands in restoring the ancient practice of 
frequent communion. 

Four years after his ordination he was appointed 
Master of Novices. In accepting this post, the rule he 
made for himself and faithfully carried out was to be 
the first in every duty and a living example to those 
under his charge of all the virtues which he desired to 
form in them. His discipline was indeed somewhat 
severe, but his novices were well aware that their 
holy master chastised his own body with penances 
tenfold harder than any which he imposed upon them. 
He was full of sympathy for them in all their trials 
and temptations, and trained so great a number in the 
religious life, that his holy Franciscan friend, Blessed 
Nicholas Factor, used to compare him to Blessed Jordan 
of Saxony, who is said to have clothed more than a 
thousand novices with his own hand. 

Saint Lewis had the consolation of assisting his 
father in his last hours. During the eight years which 
followed, he prayed and suffered incessantly for the 
release of that beloved soul from Purgatory, and at 
length was comforted by beholding it in glory. 

The Community of Valencia having been compelled 
to disperse for a time on account of the ravages of 
the plague, Saint Lewis became Superior of the small 
Convent of Saint Anne at Albayda, where he distin- 
guished himself by his great charity to the poor and 
his bold denunciation of public scandals from the pulpit. 
This apostolic liberty of speech nearly cost him his life, 
for a gentleman of high rank was so incensed by one 
of his sermons, which he believed to be pointed at his 
own flagrant wickedness, as to attempt to shoot him ; 
but the Saint quietly made the sign of the Cross, and 
the gun levelled against him was miraculously changed 
into a crucifix. 

286 Dominican Saints 

Oct 10 In the year 1562, Saint Lewis, whose daily prayer 
at the elevation in the Mass was: "Grant, O Lord, 
that I may die for Thee, who didst deign to die for 
me," set sail for South America, where he laboured as 
a missionary amongst the Indians for seven years, 
gathering many thousands into the fold of Christ, and 
earning for himself the title of the Apostle of New 
Granada. He preached on the Isthmus of Panama 
and in the north-western part of South America, even 
penetrating alone among the savage tribes of the 
Caribs, who inhabited some of the West Indian 
Islands, and who had hitherto been regarded as irre- 
claimable. They listened, however, to the voice of 
the Saint, and great numbers were converted. One 
of the idolatrous priests, enraged at Saint Lewis's suc- 
cess, administered to him virulent poison, which nearly 
caused his death, and from the effects of which he 
continued to suffer to the end of his life. God favoured 
him with the gift of tongues in a double way. Some- 
times, speaking in his native Castilian, he was under- 
stood by his hearers as if he had been using their 
language; at other times he employed languages of 
which he himself was naturally ignorant. His preach- 
ing was also confirmed by many miracles. 

In the year 1569, Saint Lewis, distressed by the 
cruelties practised on the Indians by their Spanish 
conquerors, returned to Spain, where, after governing 
for three years the Convent of Saint Onuphrius and 
discharging for a time his old office of novice-master, 
he was elected Prior of his own Convent in Valencia. 
As Superior, he gave his Community a wonderful 
example of every religious virtue, always doing more 
himself than he required of others. 

Saint Lewis Bertrand united to a tender love for his 
Divine Master an eminent degree of the gift of holy 
fear ; not that servile fear which springs from self-love, 

Dominican Saints 287 

but a reverential fear lest his own sinfulness should Oct 10 
render him unworthy of the eternal possession of God. 
He was also distinguished for his great love of the 
Rosary, and he often made use of his Rosary and the 
intercession of Our Lady to veil the miraculous powers 
with which God had endowed him. Thus it was by 
the application of his Rosary that he raised a girl to 
life in South America. 

His last illness was long and painful At length, on 
October 9, A.D. 1581, his blessed soul was released 
from the prison of the body, his passage out of this 
world being marked by many prodigies. He was 
beatified by Paul V., A.D. 1608, and canonized by 
Clement X., A.D. 1671. At the beginning of the pre- 
sent century his holy body was still incorrupt. 


O God, who, through mortification of the body and 
the preaching of the faith, didst raise the Blessed 
Lewis, Thy Confessor, to the glory of the Saints, grant 
that what we profess by faith we may ever fulfil by 
works of holiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed James or uim, Cap Brotber, 

(A.D. 1407-1491) 

BLESSED JAMES was born of pious and respectable Oct. 12 
parents at Ulm in Germany, A.D. 1407. Having 
spent his youth blamelessly, he left his home at the 
age of twenty-five to go on pilgrimage to Rome, where 
he visited the holy places with great devotion. Pass- 

288 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 12 ing thence into the kingdom of Naples, he embraced 
the career of arms ; but, horrified at the licentiousness 
of his fellow-soldiers, which he vainly strove to repress, 
he soon quitted the army and entered the service of 
a nobleman at Capua. His fidelity and diligence so 
endeared him to his master, that he was intrusted 
with the entire management of the property; and 
when, at the end of five years, he solicited permission 
to depart, being desirous to see his parents once more, 
the desired leave was peremptorily refused. Blessed 
James, therefore, having wound up his master's affairs 
and left everything in perfect order, set out secretly 
for Rome, whence he passed on to Bologna. Here he 
was again induced to enlist in a company of soldiers ; 
but, as there was no war going on in those parts just 
then, he spent his leisure time in satisfying his devotion 
in various churches of the city, but specially in that 
of Saint Dominic, to which he felt himself irresistibly 
attracted. It seemed as if he were ever seeking his 
true vocation, which as yet he had not found. 

At length he felt himself inspired to enter the 
Dominican Order; and, having obtained leave from 
his captain for the step he was about to take, he 
betook himself one morning to the Church of the 
Friars, earnestly begging of God that he might meet 
with one of the Fathers who would counsel him in this 
important matter. It so chanced that the first re- 
ligious who came into the church was the Prior, a 
holy and learned man. The young soldier cast him- 
self at his feet and begged his advice and assistance. 
Struck by the devout aspect of the postulant, the Prior 
willingly promised to procure his admission to the 
noviciate ; and he accordingly received the habit, choos- 
ing out of humility the lowly condition of lay brother, 
although his education was sufficiently good to have 
entitled him to the higher position of a Choir-Religious. 

Dominican Saints 289 

During his time of probation, Blessed James made Oct 12 
it his special study to ground himself in the virtue of 
humility, on which he founded the whole edifice of his 
perfection. He sincerely believed himself to be the 
worst of men ; and before being admitted to profession 
he cast himself at the feet of each of the religious, 
imploring them with tears in his eyes to show him 
mercy and not to send him away by reason of his 
unworthiness. After he had made his vows, he set 
himself to keep them with the utmost fidelity. He 
punctually observed the Rule and Constitutions, prac- 
tised severe penance, and avoided idleness as the mortal 
enemy of the soul. 

But the virtue which shone forth most resplendently 
in this humble servant of God was that of obedience ; 
and his life furnishes several examples of the heroism 
to which he carried this essential religious virtue. 
The Prior, wishing to manifest the readiness of the 
holy man's obedience to a prelate who happened to 
visit the Convent, called him to him, and putting a 
letter into his hand, desired him to carry it without 
delay to Paris. The journey at that time was one of 
several weeks and beset with dangers. Blessed James, 
however, without expressing a single want or waiting 
for any provision for the way, prepared instantly to 
depart, saying only, " May I first go to our cell to get 
our hat and stick ? " On another occasion the holy 
lay brother, who was a skilful painter on glass, had 
just completed a beautiful figure on a stained glass 
window, and had placed it in the furnace to fix the 
colours. As he was anxiously watching the process 
and regulating the heat of the furnace, he was suddenly 
ordered to go out and beg bread for the Community. 
Without a moment's hesitation, he took his wallet and 
obeyed. Returning after some hours, and expecting to 
find his glass not only spoilt but even reduced to ashes, 


290 Dominican Saints 

Oct 12 he discovered, on opening the furnace, that God had 
worked a miracle to reward his obedience. The paint- 
ing was in perfect preservation, with the colours better 
fixed than they had ever been on former occasions, when 
he had himself been there to superintend the work. 

A beautiful picture is left us of the daily life of 
Blessed James. He was always the first to come 
down to Matins, and, after assisting at that office, he 
spent long hours prostrate in prayer before the Ador- 
able Sacrament. At daybreak he said his office of 
Pater nosters, as prescribed for lay brothers, up to 
Vespers, paid a visit to the altars, reciting some special 
prayer at each, saluted our Blessed Lady, to whom 
he bore a tender devotion, with the Antiphon " Ave 
Regina ccelorum" served two Masses, and then betook 
himself to his glass-painting or to the domestic work of 
the Convent. Whilst he worked, he never ceased to 
pray. Hence he was a strict observer of silence, never 
speaking save when necessity or charity required that 
he should do so. His favourite subject of contempla- 
tion was the Passion of his Divine Master. He was 
assiduous also in the use of vocal prayers, having a 
special devotion to the verse : 

" O Jesu, born of Virgin bright, 
Immortal glory be to Thee." 

To which he would add, " Help me this day, together 
with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and 
ever. Amen." His prayer was accompanied by rap- 
tures; and his countenance, whilst engaged in this 
holy exercise, emitted brilliant rays of light. He was 
often cruelly ill-treated by the evil spirits, and com- 
forted by his Guardian Angel. His miracles were 
very numerous. 

Blessed James, having preserved his baptismal inno- 

Dominican Saints 291 

cence unsullied, happily departed to our Lord, A.D. Oct 12 
1491. He was beatified by Leo. XII. 


O God, who didst wonderfully adorn Blessed James, 
Thy Confessor, with the virtues of humility and obedi- 
ence, make us, through his intercession, to despise 
earthly things and evermore cleave to Thy command- 
ments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Magdalen Patinatieri, Virgin 

(A.D. 1443-1503) 

village called Trino, in the Marquisate of Montferrat, 
in the North of Italy, about A.D. 1443. She was richly 
gifted both by nature and grace, and received an 
excellent education. Whilst still a child, she chose 
Jesus Christ for her Spouse, and bound herself to Him 
by a vow of perpetual virginity, strenuously endea- 
vouring to keep her heart detached from all earthly 
things. Desiring to consecrate herself yet more entirely 
to the Beloved of her soul, she took the habit of the 
Third Order whilst still very young and strove to 
make her life resemble those of Saint Dominic and 
Saint Catharine of Siena. She practised severe fasts 
throughout the entire year, disciplined herself to blood 
every night, wore a rough hair-shirt, and took her 
scanty rest on the bare ground, spending the greater 
part of her time in fervent prayer. 

She was favoured with frequent raptures and appa- 
ritions ; on every festival she was granted a vision of 
the mystery or of the Saint honoured by the Church 
on that day. This was particularly the case in Holy 

292 Dominican Saints 

Get 14 Week, when she was admitted to a mysterious and 
visible participation in the sufferings of her Divine 
Spouse, and in Easter Week, when her countenance 
appeared radiant with celestial light. Our Blessed 
Lady often manifested herself to her, and laid the 
Divine Child in her arms. She was frequently visited 
by the Holy Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul, to whom 
she had a special devotion. Many times she was 
taken in spirit to the holy places of Palestine, of which 
she was able to give a minute and accurate description. 
She assured her Confessor that she had never asked 
anything of our Lord or of His Blessed Mother which 
had not been granted to her, either wholly or in part, 
according to the fervour of her supplication. God 
bestowed on her the gift of miracles and of prophecy, 
and made known to her the terrible calamities which 
were threatening her native country in the wars be- 
tween the French King, Francis I., and the Emperor 
Charles V., who made Northern Italy their battle- 
ground. By her fervent supplications she succeeded 
in averting the Divine wrath from her own village of 

The heroic sanctity of Blessed Magdalen and the 
ardent zeal with which, as a true daughter of Saint 
Dominic, she devoted herself to procuring the salvation 
of souls, made her a special object of hatred to the 
devil, who was permitted to assail her with many 
and grievous temptations, and even to appear to her, 
scourging and tormenting her in a horrible manner. 
But her courage in the midst of these infernal attacks 
was undaunted. Blessed Magdalen had a very special 
devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus. The Pas- 
sion of her Divine Spouse was the frequent subject 
of her contemplation, and she longed to undergo pain 
and humiliation for Him who had suffered so much 
and been so deeply humbled for her. 

Dominican Saints 293 

After spending the whole morning in adoration of Oct. 14 
the Blessed Sacrament, Blessed Magdalen was accus- 
tomed daily to visit all the sick in the village, minister- 
ing to their spiritual and temporal needs with the 
utmost charity. She loved to serve her Divine Spouse 
in the person of His poor. She would entertain them 
at her table, even when they were suffering from the 
most loathsome diseases, serving them herself, and 
making her own meal: on the leavings of their repast. 
She had a wonderful gift of influencing others, and 
spoke with such sweetness and efficacy that people 
were never weary of listening to her holy exhortations. 

When she knew that the end of her earthly pilgrim- 
age was at hand, she summoned all the Sisters of the 
Third Order around her, humbly begged their pardon 
for any offence or bad example she might have given 
them, earnestly exhorted them to mutual charity and 
the observance of their Rule, and bade them an affec- 
tionate farewell, promising to be mindful of them in the 
presence of their Heavenly Spouse, whom she hoped 
shortly to behold face to face. When the news of her 
illness spread abroad, people came in crowds from all 
the surrounding country, anxious to see and speak to 
her once more and to commend themselves to her 
prayers. She welcomed them all with tender charity 
and gave them wise and holy counsels. 

Suddenly the servant of God, fixing her eyes on 
one corner of the chamber in which she lay, bade the 
bystanders make room for heavenly visitors. She 
then seemed to be rapt in ecstasy, her countenance 
radiant with joy. Those who knelt around could 
see nothing, but were conscious of a celestial fragrance 
which perfumed the air. When Blessed Magdalen 
came to herself, she told her Confessor that our Lord 
and His Blessed Mother had been to visit her, accom- 
panied by Saint Catharine the Martyr and several 

294 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 14 Saints of the Order. She then made her general 
confession and received the Last Sacraments with 
the deepest sentiments of contrition and devotion ; 
after which she sweetly entoned the hymns Jesu 
nostra redemptio and Ave maris Stella, which she 
sang throughout in company with those who were 
assisting at this holy and happy deathbed, as also 
the psalm : " In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped," as 
far as the words : " Into Thy hands, O Lord, I com- 
mend my spirit." The same celestial fragrance again 
perfumed the air, announcing that our Lord had 
fulfilled the promise made to His servant that He 
would come again with His Blessed Mother and the 
Saints and take her to Himself; and Blessed Magdalen 
calmly breathed forth her soul to Him. It was the 
1 3th of October, A.D. 1503. Her death was followed 
by many miracles, and she was beatified by Leo XII. 


O God, who forsakest no man that trusteth in 
Thee, and mercifully hearest him that meekly be- 
seecheth Thee, grant, we pray Thee, that what we 
cannot obtain by our own merits, we may receive 
through the patronage of Thy Blessed Virgin, Mag- 
dalen. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Peter of CiTerno, Confessor 

(A.D. 1390-1445) 

Oct. 22 BLESSED PETER belonged to the noble family of 
the Cappucci, and was born at Tiferno, now called 
Citta di Castello, in Italy, A.D. 1390. At the age of 
fifteen he received the habit of Saint Dominic in the 

Dominican Saints 295 

Convent of his native place. After his profession Oct 22 
he was sent to Cortona, where he was ordained 
priest and remained until his death. At Cortona he 
had the happiness of being trained in the religious 
life by that great luminary of the Order, Blessed 
Laurence of Ripafratta. This enlightened spiritual 
guide, with his accustomed discernment, bade his 
new disciple devote himself chiefly to contemplation. 
Blessed Peter had for his companions Saint Antoninus, 
who afterwards became Archbishop of Florence, and 
many other illustrious men granted to the Order at 
that time to restore regular observance after the dis- 
astrous relaxation of discipline caused by the Black 
Death and the great Schism of the West. 

Blessed Peter was a great lover of humility and 
poverty; and though of noble birth, delighted in 
going round the city with a wallet upon his back, 
begging alms from door to door for the support of 
the Community. On one occasion, when he had 
gone after the vintage to beg some wine from a rich 
nobleman, the latter excused himself on the plea 
that he had already disposed of all his wine. The 
holy man pressed his suit, however, assuring the 
nobleman that, if he would only look, he would find 
there was plenty of wine left to bestow in alms. 
They accordingly went together to a large cask which 
had been empty and dry a few minutes previously, 
and found it miraculously filled to the brim with 
excellent wine. 

A poor woman who was hindered from earning 
her livelihood by reason of a withered hand, once 
implored the holy man to touch and heal it. Moved 
with compassion, he made the sign of the cross over 
it from a distance, and it was instantly restored to 

As a true son of Saint Dominic, Blessed Peter 

296 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 22 was filled with burning zeal for the conversion of 
souls, and doubtless wrought many conversions by 
his public preaching and private exhortations. Un- 
fortunately a fire which consumed the archives of 
the Convent of Cortona, and the frequent wars and 
sackings of the city, have deprived us of almost all 
particulars of the life of this great servant of God. 
The following story has, however, been preserved. 
As Blessed Peter was one day walking in the cloister 
of his Convent, he met a young man of dissolute 
life, who even at that very moment was planning a 
crime which he intended to commit on the morrow. 
The holy man fixed his eyes steadfastly upon him 
and exclaimed : " What evil art thou turning over 
in thy mind ? How long wilt thou go on adding 
sin to sin ? Know that thou hast but twenty-four 
hours more to live, and that this time to-morrow 
thou wilt have to give an account to God of thy 
iniquities." The youth turned pale at these terrible 
words, knowing well that Blessed Peter possessed 
the spirit of prophecy ; nevertheless his bad habits 
gained the mastery and he returned home uncon- 
verted. The man of God, however, followed him 
with his prayers, and they were not offered in vain. 
That night the miserable youth met with a terrible 
accident ; and seeing that Blessed Peter's prophecy 
was about to be fulfilled, he sent for him, made his 
confession to him with every sign of true contri- 
tion, and thus passed out of this world penitent and 

Two young men who had been unjustly condemned 
were miraculously delivered from death by the servant 
of God, but the particulars of this interesting event 
have not been preserved. 

The death of Blessed Peter took place in the year 
1445, on the Feast of Saint Ursula and the eleven 

Dominican Saints 297 

thousand virgin companions of her martyrdom, to whom Oct. 22 
he bore a singular devotion. On his deathbed he pro- 
mised ever to watch over the religious of his Order 
and the city of Cortona. Many miracles were worked 
at his tomb, and he was beatified by Pius VII. In his 
picture Blessed Peter is represented holding a skull, 
in allusion to his custom of meditating and preaching 
with this emblem of death in his hand. 


O God, who hast declared that Thy faithful, by con- 
tinually remembering their latter end, shall never sin, 
grant, through the prayers and example of Blessed 
Peter, Thy Confessor, that we may so bear in mind 
our temporal death, that, by continually weeping over 
the sins we have committed, we may avoid eternal 
death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Bartholomew Breganza, Bishop 
ana Confessor 

(A.D. 1271) 

BLESSED BARTHOLOMEW was a native of Vicenza in Oct. 23 
Northern Italy, and belonged to the noble family of 
Breganza. He received the habit of the Order from 
Saint Dominic's own hands on occasion of the holy 
Patriarch's visit to Vicenza about A.D. 1220. So 
eminent was his virtue, that, only a few months after 
his reception, he became Prior, and he successfully 
governed several Convents with great prudence and 
fruit of souls. Seven years later he became Master of 
the Sacred Palace, an office which had been first held 

298 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 23 by Saint Dominic himself, and which has since been 
hereditary in the Order. It was whilst discharging 
these functions that Blessed Bartholomew composed 
his learned commentary on the work of Saint Denis : 
" De c&lesti hierarchia" 

Bologna was at this time a prey to terrible civil 
dissensions, and the anger of God against the guilty 
city had been manifested by a plague of caterpillars 
and locusts, which had laid waste all the adjacent 
territory. Under these circumstances, Father John of 
Vicenza of our Order, who, though never solemnly 
beatified, is nevertheless popularly known by the title 
of Blessed John of Vicenza, in company with Blessed 
Bartholomew, went to exercise his apostolic ministry 
in a city so dear to all the sons of Saint Dominic, as 
being the burial-place of their holy Founder. The 
labours of the two saintly Dominicans bore abundant 
fruit ; and, to ensure the continuance of the peace thus 
happily restored, Blessed Bartholomew established 
an Order of Knights, whose special office it should 
be to act as peacemakers. This Order spread widely 
throughout Italy, and received the approbation of the 
Holy See. 

In the year 1246, Pope Innocent IV. appointed 
Blessed Bartholomew to a Bishopric in the Island of 
Cyprus, which he governed for two years, after which 
he was sent as Papal Legate to Saint Lewis of France, 
who was then carrying on the Crusade against the 
infidels. The two Saints contracted a sweet and holy 
friendship, Saint Lewis making choice of Blessed 
Bartholomew as his Confessor. When the King re- 
turned to France in A.D. 1252, Blessed Bartholomew 
went back to his diocese, which he continued to govern 
until A.D. 1256, when Pope Alexander IV. translated 
him to the Episcopal See of his native city of Vicenza. 

The Bishop's first care was to purge his new diocese 

Dominican Saints 299 

from the pestilential errors which had crept into it, and Oct. 23 
to his great joy he succeeded in converting the leader 
of the heretical party and a large number of his fol- 
lowers. This so exasperated the infamous Ezzelino, 
who at that time tyrannized over Northern Italy in the 
name of the German Emperor, that he procured the 
banishment of Blessed Bartholomew. The holy man 
was then sent by the Sovereign Pontiff as Nuncio to 
negotiate certain important affairs with the King of 
England. He returned from that country in company 
with Henry III. and his Queen, who were crossing 
over to Normandy. On his way back to Italy, Blessed 
Bartholomew had the consolation of visiting his beloved 
friend, Saint Lewis, who fulfilled the promise he had 
formerly made to him when they were in Palestine 
together, by bestowing upon him a relic of the True 
Cross and one of the thorns of our Lord's crown, 
which had been given to him by the Emperor of 
Constantinople, and for the reception of which he had 
erected the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. 

In the year 1259, the death of Ezzelino left Blessed 
Bartholomew free to return to his diocese, bringing 
with him the priceless relics with which his saintly 
penitent had gifted him, and an authentication of the 
same in the King's own handwriting. As the holy 
Bishop drew nigh to Vicenza, the people went out to 
meet him with every demonstration of joy, exclaiming: 
" Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ! " 
He proceeded to build a large church to receive the 
precious relics he had brought with him, and attached 
to it a Convent, which he bestowed on his own 
Brethren, whose quarters in Vicenza had hitherto been 
miserably poor and incommodious. 

A noble Venetian widow, who had in her possession 
a rich and beautiful reliquary, which had been bestowed 
on her husband by the Greek Emperor and which 

300 Dominican Saints 

Oct 23 contained a portion of the True Cross, two thorns of 
our Lord's crown, and relics of the Apostles and other 
Saints, sent for Blessed Bartholomew to come to 
Venice, that she might consign her treasure to him, 
to be deposited in his newly-erected Church of the 
Holy Crown. The servant of God joyfully obeyed 
the summons, and enriched his beloved sanctuary 
with these priceless gifts. 

Blessed Bartholomew devoted himself with the ut- 
most zeal and fervour to the labours of his office, 
rooting out heresy, pacifying those who were at vari- 
ance, relieving the wants of the poor, and rebuilding 
his Cathedral, which had been destroyed by Ezze- 
lino. So greatly was he valued and beloved by his 
flock, that they implored him to accept the temporal 
sovereignty of the city. This, however, he resolutely 
refused to do ; but by his prudent counsels he greatly 
promoted the peace and prosperity both of Church 
and State. He was continually chosen as a mediator 
in the struggles and disputes which then distracted 
Northern Italy, and his wonderful powers of concilia- 
tion did much to remedy the miserable feuds of the 

The holy man had the happiness of assisting in the 
year 1267 at the second translation of the relics of 
our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, of which he has left 
an official account. He it was who pronounced the 
panegyric on the occasion. His happy death took 
place A.D. 1271, and he was laid to rest in his beloved 
Church of the Holy Crown. He was beatified by 
Pius VI. 


O God, who madest Blessed Bartholomew, Thy 
Confessor and Bishop, wonderful in leading the 
enemies of the faith from the darkness of error to the 

Dominican Saints 3 01 

light of truth, and in bringing back multitudes to peace Oct. 23 
and concord, grant, through his intercession, that Thy 
peace, which passeth all understanding, may keep our 
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, who liveth 
and reigneth with Thee for ever and ever. Amen. 


Blessed Datnian Furcberio, Confessor 

(A.D. 1484) 

BLESSED DAMIAN was born of rich and noble parents Oct. 26 
at the village of Finario, not far from Genoa. When 
quite a little child, he was carried off by a lunatic, and 
after long search was finally recovered by a miracu- 
lous interposition of Divine Providence. He spent his 
youth piously, and, wishing to escape the shares and 
temptations of the world, early entered the Dominican 
Order, in which he made rapid progress both in sacred 
science and holiness of life. Looking upon the reli- 
gious state as a school of perfection, he laid the foun- 
dation of his spiritual life in profound humility ; he 
strove to bring the flesh into subjection by fasting and 
abstinence, and devoted much time to prayer. He 
gave himself with the utmost ardour to sacred studies 
and wrote some very devout spiritual treatises. 

If he strove so earnestly to acquire learning, it was 
with the pure intention of qualifying himself to spread 
the faith and promote the glory of God ; and, when 
obedience called him to labour for souls throughout 
the length and breadth of Italy, it was clearly seen that 
the Divine blessing had rested on his studies ; for the 
fruits of Blessed Damian's preaching were considered 
wonderful even in that age of great preachers. The 
fire of his eloquence was irrestible, and as it were 

302 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 26 forced men from sin to repentance. Unfortunately the 
chronicles which bestow such high eulogiums upon 
him have preserved few or none of the details of his 
life. Having attained to an advanced age, he was 
attacked by his last illness at Reggio, near Modena, 
and having received the last Sacraments with the 
utmost devotion, happily departed to our Lord, A.D. 
1484. Many miracles having been worked through his 
intercession, his relics were widely distributed ; and he 
was beatified by Pius IX. 


O God, who for the salvation of the faithful didst 
adorn Blessed Damian, Thy Confessor, with all virtues 
and a wonderful power of speech, grant, we beseech 
Thee, that, through his intercession and example, we 
may show forth true charity both by word and work. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Betivenuta Bojani, Virgin 

(A.D. 1254-1292) 

Oct. 29 BLESSED BENVENUTA was born at Cividale, in the 
province of Friuli, in the Austrian dominions, about A.D. 
1254. The family already consisted of six daughters, 
and the father earnestly desired a son. Those who 
were present at the child's birth were, therefore, afraid 
to tell him that his hopes were again disappointed ; but 
he guessed the truth from their silence, and exclaimed : 
" She too shall be welcome ! " Hence the little one 
received the beautiful Italian name of Benvenuta 
(welcome). From her earliest childhood she gave 
evidence of singular piety. When only seven years 

Dominican Saints 303 

old, she was in the habit of daily reciting a hundred Oct. 29 
Paters and Aves in honour of the adorable Trinity and 
a thousand Aves in honour of our Blessed Lady. On 
Saturdays she doubled her devotions, and on the 
festival of the Annunciation, which was specially dear 
to her, she was accustomed to salute her Heavenly 
Mother with as many as three thousand Aves. A 
married sister, who was tenderly attached to Benvenuta, 
strove to induce her to wear costly attire and to accom- 
pany her to dances and other festivities; but the 
saintly child would tear the ornaments from her hair, 
and, wrapping herself in a coarse veil, seek a hiding- 
place in a wood at the back of the house, whence she 
could see a church dedicated to our Blessed Lady, 
which stood on the summit of a neighbouring hill. 
The grass, which all around grew rank and thick, was 
here worn away by her continual genuflections and 

To the constant exercise of prayer she soon learnt 
to add that of severe bodily austerities. When she 
was twelve years old she began to wear a hair-shirt 
and girded herself with a rope, which, as she grew, 
became buried in the flesh, causing her intense pain. 
Fearing that, if she disclosed the circumstance to her 
parents, they would oblige her to submit to a surgical 
operation, for which she felt extreme repugnance, she 
had recourse to prayer, and presently beheld the rope 
lying unbroken on the ground before her. For this 
reason she is generally represented with a rope in her 
hand. She chose our Blessed Lady as her Mother 
and Mistress, and made a vow of virginity in her hands. 
She also placed herself in a special manner under the 
patronage of Saint Dominic by entering the Third 
Order, and she did her best to imitate the penitential 
life of the holy Patriarch. She spent the greater part 
of the night in watching; and, when she felt herself 

304 Dominican Saints 

Oct 29 overcome by sleep, she would rub her eyes with 
vinegar, thus rendering it impossible for her to close 
them. Thrice every night she took a severe discipline 
with an iron chain ; she practised much fasting and 
abstinence, denied herself the use of wine, and took 
her scanty rest lying on the bare ground, with a stone 
for her pillow. By these austerities, for which in her 
fervour and simplicity she had not deemed it necessary 
to ask the permission of her Confessor, she reduced 
herself to a state of extreme weakness and suffering. 
Then Saint Dominic appeared to her and bade her 
manifest all her penitential practices and their conse- 
quences to her spiritual father. Benvenuta felt great 
repugnance to obey this command, and it was not until 
it had been thrice repeated with some severity that she 
at length yielded. Thenceforth she was compelled by 
obedience somewhat to mitigate the extreme austerity 
of her life and to undertake no penitential practices 
without express permission. 

Satan early made this holy virgin the object of his 
malignant attacks both in soul and body. He was 
constantly appearing to her under various forms ; 
and, finding himself unable to lead her into sin, he 
strove at least to terrify her and to shake her con- 
fidence in God ; but Benvenuta, whose courage in 
all these encounters was heroic, so humbled the 
proud spirit as to compel him to confess that he 
should be ashamed to appear before his companions 
after being thus reviled and baffled by a girl. These 
temptations and struggles, joined to her fasts and 
vigils and her continual prostrations and prayers, 
so exhausted her strength, that at last she fell ill 
and continued in a state of very great suffering for five 
years, unable to retain any food and living on nothing 
but water. At length, having made a vow to go on 
pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Dominic at Bologna 

Dominican Saints 305 

if her health were restored, she was miraculously Oct. 29 

Many souls were delivered from Purgatory through 
the prayers and penances of Blessed Benvenuta, 
and appeared to her to thank her for their release. 
Amongst these were her own father and brother. The 
visions and supernatural favours abundantly bestowed 
on this humble and faithful servant of God were of 
singular beauty. The following are the only examples 
which can be quoted in this brief narrative. One day, 
when she was praying in a church near her house, 
she beheld a poor child of exquisite beauty, and, 
calling him to her, she inquired if he could say the 
Hail Mary. " Can you say it ? " asked the child. 
Benvenuta immediately began to recite it ; and, when 
she came to the words : " Blessed is the fruit of thy 
womb," the child said: "And I am He," and then 
disappeared. Having once prepared herself with 
special devotion to celebrate the festival of our Lord's 
Nativity, as she was praying in the church on Christ- 
mas night and begging the Blessed Virgin to allow her 
to behold the Divine Babe, she suddenly saw a lady 
bearing an infant in her arms and accompanied by 
an old man who carried a stick. The lady bade her 
return home, telling her she would there see what 
she desired. Benvenuta obeyed ; and, when she 
reached the house, the same vision was again vouch- 
safed to her, and the Blessed Virgin laid the Divine 
Infant in her arms and permitted her to caress Him 
for more than an hour. 

Before the death of Blessed Benvenuta, which 
happened when she was in her thirty-eighth year, 
Our Lady revealed to her that the devil would appear 
to her under a most horrible form, striving to tempt 
her with vain fears ; but her Heavenly Mother promised 
that she would herself hasten to her assistance, as 


306 Dominican Saints 

Oct. 29 indeed came to pass. The servant of God, after a 
short but terrible conflict with the evil one, departed 
this life in great peace and joy on the 3Oth of Octo- 
ber, A.D. 1292. Her sanctity was attested by many 
miracles, and she was beatified by Clement X. 


Pour out upon us, O Lord, the grace of penance, 
prayer, and humility, that, in imitation of the Blessed 
Virgin Benvenuta, we may be enabled, through morti- 
fication of the flesh, to live in the spirit, and by con- 
tinual meditation on heavenly things and contempt of 
ourselves, to find rest and glory in Thee, who alone art 
God. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Simon BallacbU Cap Brother, 

(A.D. 1319.) 

Nov. 3 THE family of Ballachi held a distinguished rank 
in the neighbourhood of Rimini in Italy, and two of 
its members, uncles of Blessed Simon, successively 
governed that diocese in quality of Bishop. Simon 
himself had been intended for a military career, and 
hence was brought up without any knowledge of 
letters, according to the custom of the times. When 
he had attained the age of twenty-seven, however, it 
pleased God to impress him so forcibly with the 
sense of the vanity of the world and the exclusive 
importance of Divine things, that he determined to 
renounce all, saying with the Psalmist : " I have 
chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, 
rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners." 

Dominican Saints 307 

He entered the Dominican Order, making choice, in Nov. 3 
spite of his noble birth, of the humble position of 
a lay brother. 

It was his special office to take care of the garden ; 
and, whilst he tended the plants and flowers and 
laboured to bring them to perfection, each according 
to its kind, he was no less assiduous in the culti- 
vation of every virtue, seasoning his toil with holy 
thoughts and devout ejaculations, and striving to form 
a spiritual garden for our Lord in his own heart. He 
took upon himself nearly all the work of the other 
lay brothers, and every week swept the entire Convent 
with his own hands. When the hard labour which 
devolved on him shortened his time for prayer and 
contemplation, he would make up for the loss by 
curtailing his sleep and spending many hours of the 
night in devotional exercises. 

In spite of all this fatigue, the austerity of his life 
was truly admirable. He often fasted during the 
entire Lent on bread and water, and very frequently 
passed two whole days without food of any kind. 
He used to discipline himself with an iron chain, 
and at the thought of the sins of his past life in the 
world he redoubled the severity of his blows. True 
son of Saint Dominic, he was accustomed to inflict 
this penance on himself also for the conversion of 
sinners. This practice was particularly hateful to 
the evil spirits, and many were the sharp attacks he 
had to sustain from their malice. They would sur- 
round him whilst he prayed, filling his mouth with 
dust and filth; but their fury never disturbed his 
serenity. He did but intercede the more earnestly 
for the salvation of souls, whom, in his humble 
capacity as lay brother, he could only assist by his 
prayers and penances. His superiors found them- 
selves obliged to mitigate his austerities, which were 

308 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 3 weakening him to such a degree as to render him 
unable to work. So copious was his gift of tears, 
that at the age of fifty-seven he became perfectly 
blind and continued so to the end of his life. He 
bore this affliction with perfect resignation, and his 
exterior blindness became the means of quickening 
his interior sight, so that he was almost continually 
lost in contemplation of heavenly things. 

On one occasion, when the devils had been tor- 
menting him, as above described, an angel came 
and washed his face and mouth with holy water, 
at the same time comforting him with the assurance 
that our Lord was ever at hand to help him in his 
combats. Once when he was suffering from a violent 
fever, our Holy Father Saint Dominic and Saint 
Peter Martyr appeared to him and restored him to 
health, assuring him of their continual intercession 
on his behalf before the throne of God. 

He bore a tender devotion to the beloved disciple, 
Saint John, and was accustomed often to go and pray 
before a picture of the Holy Evangelist which hung 
in a corner of the church ; and on these occasions 
all who were present were conscious of a delicious 
fragrance which diffused itself from that spot over 
the whole building. Saint Catharine, Virgin and 
Martyr, once cured Blessed Simon of a violent head- 
ache by giving him some mysterious food which was 
exceedingly sweet to the taste. On another occasion 
the same Saint appeared to him, bringing him a 
command on the part of our Blessed Lady that the 
church of a Monastery then being built in Rimini 
should be dedicated to the Queen of Heaven under 
the title of Santa Maria del Servi. 

In his old age Blessed Simon became so weak as to 
be obliged to remain constantly in a recumbent posture 
on a small wooden couch, where he was often seen 

Dominican Saints 309 

surrounded by a brilliant light, whence a voice would Nov. 3 
be heard to issue, saying, " Fear not, Simon, for 
thou hast found grace with God." At length, having 
devoutly received the Holy Sacraments, he happily 
departed to a better life, on the 3rd of November, A.D. 
1319. He was renowned for miracles, both alive and 
dead, and was beatified by Pius VII. 


O God, who didst adorn Blessed Simon, Thy Con- 
fessor, amongst his other virtues, with constant dili- 
gence in prayer and a singular prerogative of humility; 
grant that we may so imitate him, that, despising all 
the things of this world, we may here seek Thee alone, 
and hereafter obtain the rewards promised in heaven 
to the humble. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed martin Porres, Confessor 

(A.D. 1569-1639) 

BLESSED MARTIN was a native of South America, NOV. 5 
and was born at Lima, the capital of Peru, A.D. 1 569. 
His father was a Spanish knight of noble birth, but 
his mother, though she belonged to one of the richest 
families of Panama, was of the despised coloured race. 
The child inherited her features and complexion, on 
which account his father conceived a dislike for him 
and turned him out of his house. From his tenderest 
years little Martin was distinguished for his spirit of 
piety and mortification. At the age of thirteen he 
already devoted part of the night to prayer and con- 
templation, gave away to the poor all the money that 

3io Dominican Saints 

Nov. 5 was bestowed upon him, and even deprived himself of 
his own food and clothing on their behalf. In order 
to be able to assist them more efficaciously, he studied 
medicine and surgery. He always exercised his art 
gratis, and God often rewarded his charity by mar- 
vellous and even miraculous cures. 

When he was still young, Our Lady herself com- 
manded him to enter the Dominican Order. In obedi- 
ence to her will, he accordingly begged to be admitted 
into the Convent of the Holy Rosary in his native 
city. His birth, his talents, and above all, his repu- 
tation for sanctity, made the Fathers anxious to give 
him the habit of a choir religious, but he steadfastly 
refused even the lowly position of a lay brother, 
preferring to serve the Community in the yet hum- 
bler capacity of a Tertiary. Indeed, humility was 
ever his most distinguishing virtue, and he sincerely 
rejoiced when treated with scorn and contempt. He 
became the Infirmarian of the Convent, and, in fact, 
of all the poor of the city; and his charity specially 
displayed itself when a contagious disease struck down 
at the same time as many as sixty members of the 
Community. For months he allowed himself neither 
sleep nor food, his life being miraculously supported 
by Almighty God, for the sake of the sick whom he so 
charitably tended. 

It was his duty to distribute daily to the poor the 
remains of the meals of the Community. When his 
stock of food was insufficient for the numbers who 
presented themselves, he would obtain its miraculous 
multiplication by his faithful and humble prayers, so 
that he had enough left for the poor who were ashamed 
to beg, to whom he sent relief by trusty messengers. 
His charity extended to every sort of human misery. 
Through the instrumentality of this humble religi- 
ous, an immense orphanage was established in Lima, 

Dominican Saints 311 

containing several hundred children of both sexes ; Nov. 5 
and to this were soon added other buildings to shelter 
foundlings, the sick poor, the aged, and penitents. 
In order that needy wayfarers might not be tempted 
to steal, he caused fruit-trees to be planted along the 
public roads to provide them with refreshment. 

Even the dumb animals had their share in his 
compassionate tenderness, and seemed instinctively 
to know that he had constituted himself their physi- 
cian and protector. When hurt or half-starved, they 
betook themselves to the Convent, where Blessed 
Martin always fed and nursed them; till at length 
his hospital for dogs, cats, and other suffering animals 
became so full, that he persuaded his sister to give 
them accommodation in her house, whither he went 
daily to feed them and dress their wounds. God gave 
His servant a wonderful power over these dumb 
creatures, so that they understood and obeyed him. 
He could not bear to see rats and mice destroyed, and 
would say : "If these poor little things were daily pro- 
vided with food as we are, they would do no mischief." 
Then he commanded the creatures to withdraw to a 
remote part of the garden, whither he carried a supply 
of food for them every day ; and their ravages in the 
Convent ceased. Even to the present time Blessed 
Martin continues to exercise his miraculous gifts with 
regard to the lower creation; he is constantly and 
efficaciously invoked to put a stop to the depredations 
of rats, mice, and other animals. 

His burning love for his crucified Master, together 
with his zeal for souls and deep contrition of heart, 
found expression in the severest austerities. Thrice 
every night he afflicted his body with a terrible 
discipline, the third time receiving this penance at 
the hands of some of the Indian slaves attached to 
the service of the Convent; and to prolong the pain 

312 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 5 he would afterwards bathe the torn and wounded 
flesh with vinegar and salt, offering all these suffer- 
ings, after the example of his holy Patriarch, Saint 
Dominic, for his own sins, for the conversion of sinners, 
and for the relief of the souls in Purgatory. He fasted 
almost the whole year round on bread and water, spent 
the greater part of the night in prayer, and took his 
scanty rest in the Chapter-Room, on the bier used for 
the burial of the dead. So rigid was his poverty that 
he possessed nothing but a rosary and a crucifix ; he 
had not even a change of clothes. His obedience was 
simply miraculous. He seemed to divine what was 
required of him ; and over and over again Superiors, 
coming to give him some order, found him already in 
the act of executing it. 

Blessed Martin was united in close and holy friend- 
ship with a beatified lay brother of the Order, Blessed 
John Massias, then resident in the Convent of Saint 
Mary Magdalen in Lima. Blessed Martin's happy 
death took place on the 5th of November, A.D. 1639. 
His miracles, both during life and after death, were 
very numerous ; he possessed in an eminent degree 
the gift of prophecy; he is known to have been fre- 
quently present at the same time in two places far 
remote from each other. Blessed Martin was beatified 
by Gregory XVI. 


O God, the exalter of the humble, who didst 
make Blessed Martin, Thy Confessor, to enter the 
heavenly kingdom, grant, through his merits and 
intercession, that we may so follow the example of 
his humility on earth as to deserve to be exalted 
with him in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Dominican Saints 3*3 


Blessed Peter of Ruffia, Iftartpr 

(A.D. 1365) 

BLESSED PETER was one of that illustrious company Nov. 7 
of saints which Piedmont has furnished to the Order, 
and was born of the noble family of the Cambiani, 
at Ruffia, near Turin. At an early age he conceived 
a sovereign contempt for all earthly things, and bid- 
ding farewell to the world and its vanities, entered 
the Order of Preachers. He strove to emulate the 
noble examples which had been set by those who 
had gone before him, and soon attained to great 
eminence both in wisdom and practical piety. He 
was especially remarkable for his profound humility, 
his patient endurance of the hardships of poverty, 
and his complete detachment from family ties. Night 
and day he gave himself to prayer and contempla- 
tion, so that his conversation might truly be said to 
be in heaven. 

Northern Italy was at that time grievously infected 
by heresy, and Blessed Peter was appointed Inquisitor 
of the faith, with Turin for his headquarters, whence 
he was to watch over the interests of religion in 
all the surrounding districts. For many years he 
discharged the duties of this office with the utmost 
zeal and fidelity, preaching indefatigably and doing 
all in his power to convert the heretics and to pre- 
serve the faithful from falling into error. His labours 
were singularly blessed ; he succeeded in rescuing 
many souls who had been led astray by false teachers 
and in saving many others from being deceived. 

Hence he became an object of deadly hatred to 

Dominican Saints 

Nov. 7 the heretics, and they resolved to compass his de- 
struction. When, therefore, the intrepid champion 
of truth had occasion to visit Segusia and was 
receiving hospitality from the Franciscans in that 
place, he was attacked and slain by the enemies 
of the faith on the Feast of the Purification of our 
Blessed Lady, A.D. 1365. The sacred remains of 
the martyr were removed to the Church of Saint 
Dominic at Turin, where they received honourable 
burial, and a yearly festival was there celebrated in 
his honour on the 7th of November, the anniversary 
of the translation of his relics. He was beatified 
by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst mercifully grant to Blessed 
Peter, Thy servant, to be crowned with martyrdom 
in defence of the true faith, grant by his merits and 
intercession that we may be able continually to please 
Thee by faith which worketh by charity. Through 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Feast of All Saints of the Dominican Order 

Nov. 9 THE Church has instituted the Festival of All Saints, 
as a well-known spiritual writer tells us, " first, to 
give thanks to God for the graces and crowns of all 
His elect; secondly, to excite ourselves to a fervent 
imitation of their virtues by considering the holy 
example of so many faithful servants of God of all 
ages, sexes, and conditions, and by contemplating 
the inexpressible and eternal bliss which they already 
enjoy, and to which we are invited ; thirdly, to im- 
plore the Divine mercy through this multitude of 

Dominican Saints 3*5 

powerful intercessors ; fourthly, to repair any failures Nov. 9 
or sloth in not having duly honoured God in His 
saints on their particular festivals, and to glorify 
Him in the saints who are unknown to us, or for 
whom no particular festivals are appointed " (Rev. 
Alban Butler). 

Induced by these same motives, the great religious 
Orders of the Church have solicited permission from 
the Holy See to celebrate an annual festival in honour 
of those amongst their children who " have fought 
the good fight" here below and are now numbered 
with the Saints in the Church Triumphant. This 
privilege was first granted to the Benedictines; the 
Order of Preachers was the next to receive it, through 
the Dominican Cardinal, Vincent Maria Orsini, who 
obtained this favour of Pope Clement X., A.D. 1674. 
In reply to his Eminence's petition, the Holy Father 
is reported to have said : " Rightly, my Lord Cardinal, 
ought your Order to celebrate the solemnity of all 
its Saints on one appointed day ; for, if we wished 
to assign to each of its holy sons his own special 
feast, we should have to form a new calendar, and 
they alone would suffice to fill it." 

It may not be without interest to record in this place 
the number of Saint Dominic's children who, up to the 
present date, A.D. 1900, have received the honours of 
canonization and beatification. The canonized Saints 
of the Order are 14 in number ; its Beati, 215. By far 
the majority of these belong, of course, to the First or 
Great Order; but the Second Order of cloistered women 
has 10 representatives, and the Third Order, 66. We 
may add to the figures given above, Blessed Jane of 
Aza, the mother of our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, 58 
members of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, 
beatified with our Japanese Martyrs, and 7 Martyrs be- 
longing to the Dominican Mission of Eastern Tonquin. 

316 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 9 Besides those on whose sanctit}' the Church has 
thus set her seal, there are several whose process of 
beatification is already begun in the Sacred Congrega- 
tion of Rites, and a vast multitude to whose name 
popular devotion habitually attaches the title of Blessed. 
The General Chapter of Valencia caused a list to be 
drawn up of the martyrs of the Order between the 
years 1234 and 1335, and it was found to contain 
I337O names. In the sixteenth century alone, 26,000 
of the children of Saint Dominic gave their lives for 
the faith; and an author writing in the year 1882 
states as an ascertained fact, that, from the foundation 
of the Order down to our own day, there has never 
been a single decade of years without some addition to 
the blood-stained roll of its martyrs. 1 The century now 
closing has furnished its quota in the far East, where 
the chronicle of the Dominican Mission in Tonquin 
may be said to be written in blood. 

But there are other martyrdoms besides that of 
blood, and who shall reckon up the number of Saint 
Dominic's children whose lives have been consumed 
for the aim and object of his Order, the salvation of the 
souls for whom Christ died, in missionary labours, in 
the pulpit, the confessional, the professor's chair, the 
hospital, or the school, or in the humbler sphere of 
domestic labour in the service of their Community, or 
again in the cloistered seclusion of their Convents, by 
the secret crucifixion of the spirit and the holy apostle- 
ship of intercessory prayer and suffering ? 

It is difficult to realize the number of those who have 
worked out their sanctification by the observance of 
the Dominican Rule, but some idea may be formed of 
the multitude of those who have served God in the 
white habit of Saint Dominic by the knowledge that, 

1 R. P. H. M. Iweins, O.P. " L'Ordre des Fr^res-Precheurs." 

Dominican Saints 317 

within thirty years of its foundation, the Order already Nov. 9 
reckoned 30,000 members; and when the census was 
again taken at the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
the First or Great Order alone numbered upwards of 
40,000 members. The calamities of the latter part of 
the eighteenth century and the proscription of religious 
institutes in the nineteenth in countries calling them- 
selves Catholic, have led to a lamentable diminution in 
the numbers of the First and Second Orders. The 
Third Order, on the other hand, or at least that branch 
of it which is formed of religious women living in com- 
munity, was never so flourishing in numbers or so 
actively engaged in works of zeal and charity as in our 
own day. 

To the children of Saint Dominic, November 9 is a 
family festival, and the office of the feast comes as a 
trumpet-call, reminding them that they are the children 
of Saints, as holy Tobias said, and that they must do 
nothing unworthy of their noble spiritual lineage, and 
stirring them up to walk with renewed fervour and 
fidelity in the path which their Saints have trodden. 
No matter whether the lot of Dominicans be cast in 
the old historic lands of Europe, where, under strangely 
altered conditions of society, they carry on the same 
work which was being done by their predecessors in 
the thirteenth century; amidst the new and vigorous 
life of North America ; or in that Southern half of 
the same great continent, first evangelized by their 
Brethren; in the West Indian Islands, where they are 
renewing Saint Catharine's heroic work of tending 
the lepers; on the plains of Mesopotamia, hallowed 
by patriarchal memories, where but yesterday they 
brought so vast a harvest into the garners of the 
Church ; in China and Tonquin, where the soil is still 
wet with the blood of their martyrs ; or in far-off 
South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, where they 

3i8 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 9 are the pioneers of their Order they one and all gather 
in spirit to-day at the feet of their common Father, con- 
gratulating him on the fruits of his labours, and pray- 
ing that, through his powerful intercession and that of 
the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, their Mother and 
Mistress, they too, when this life's pilgrimage is ended, 
may be numbered with the Saints in glory everlasting. 


O God, who hast vouchsafed to make the Order of 
Preachers fruitful in an abundant progeny of Saints, 
and hast gloriously crowned in them the merits of all 
heroic virtues ; grant unto us to follow their footsteps, 
that we may at last be united in perpetual festivity 
with those in heaven whom we venerate to-day under 
one celebration upon earth. Through Christ our Lord. 


Blessed 3obn lccio, Confessor 

(A.D. 1446-1511) 

Nov. 14 BLESSED JOHN LICCIO was born at Caccamo, in 
Sicily, about A.D. 1446. His mother died in giving 
him birth, and his father, either taking a dislike to the 
infant from this cause, or impelled by extreme poverty, 
cruelly ordered him to be reared on scanty and un- 
wholesome food. The child was nearly killed by this 
treatment ; but one day, when his father was absent, a 
charitable woman of the neighbourhood begged his 
aunt, who had charge of him, to allow her to take him 
to her house and give him proper nourishment, offering 
to do so without remuneration. Her charity brought 
its own reward. Her husband, who had lost the use 
of his limbs for a long time, was suddenly and com- 

Dominican Saints 3 J 9 

pletely cured as soon as the infant was laid upon his Nov. 14 
bed. The father, hearing of the miracle on his return 
home, took the child back and continued his former 
cruelties. The infirm man immediately fell ill again, 
and remained so until his wife had persuaded the in- 
human parent to let her have the little one once more, 
and to allow her to give him the care and nourishment 
which his age required. The father died soon after, 
and little John was brought up by his aunt, who 
treated him with great kindness. 

The child gave early signs of his future sanctity. 
Nearly the whole of his time was spent in church, and 
the number of vocal prayers which he daily recited 
would seem almost incredible, even if recorded of a 
grown-up person. He used to fast every Friday and 
Saturday on bread and water, and was often found 
praying before a crucifix, shedding abundant tears. 
When he was about fifteen, he chanced to go to 
Palermo, where he had the good fortune to meet 
Blessed Peter Jeremia, and was by him induced to 
enter the Order. He accordingly took the habit in 
the Convent of Saint Zita in that city, where in course 
of time he became equally distinguished for his elo- 
quence as a preacher and his learning as a theolo- 
gian, whilst the fervour and austerity of his life gained 
for him also the reputation of a Saint. 

Moved by a holy patriotism, Blessed John earnestly 
desired to found a Convent of the Order in his native 
place, that the country people might enjoy the benefits 
flowing from the preaching and holy example of the 
Friars. With the permission of his Superiors, there- 
fore, he set out for Caccamo with two companions, 
preaching and converting souls as he journeyed along. 
His undertaking was fraught with many difficulties, as 
he was utterly destitute of means for carrying it out. 
In all simplicity he had recourse to prayer, feeling con- 

320 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 14 vinced that God would show him how he was to put 
his plan into execution. Nor was his holy confidence 
deceived. An angel appeared to him and bade him 
begin to erect his Convent on the spot where he should 
find the foundations already dug. Whilst he was 
musing with some perplexity on the meaning of these 
words, the news was brought him that in a neighbour- 
ing wood some peasants had just discovered a regularly 
begun foundation, which, having never been seen there 
before, they judged to be the work of the Angels. 
Blessed John immediately recognized the Divine token, 
and the Convent subsequently built on the spot re- 
ceived the name of Saint Mary of the Angels. 

Money and materials were still wanting to him, but 
again he had recourse to prayer ; and, having spent the 
night in this holy exercise, in the morning he beheld 
an angel in the form of a handsome young man stand- 
ing at his door with a pair of oxen and a cart laden 
with building materials. The angel immediately dis- 
appeared, and the holy man began the erection of his 
Convent. In this way, constantly receiving miraculous 
assistance from Heaven, he at length completed the 
building, and became the first Prior, A.D. 1494. 

The people now vied with each other in offering 
alms and revenues for the endowment of the new 
Convent. But Blessed John was a devoted lover of 
holy poverty and would accept only of a small grove 
of olive trees to supply oil for the lamps and a piece of 
ground for a garden. He rewarded the charity of his 
benefactors by blessing and multiplying their crops, 
and by working many other miracles on their behalf. 
He showed himself a true father to the poor and con- 
soler of the afflicted, and never suffered a single day to 
pass without performing some corporal or spiritual 
work of mercy. 

He had a tender devotion to the Passion of our Lord, 

Dominican Saints 321 

and his rich and fervid eloquence when he preached on Nov. 14 
this his favourite subject was capable of melting the 
hardest hearts. Hence, after his death, which took 
place A.D. 1511, his portrait was painted over his 
tomb, representing him embracing the Cross and the 
other instruments of the Passion. He was beatified 
by Benedict XIV. 


O God, who didst make Blessed John, Thy Con- 
fessor, illustrious by perfect self-denial and singular 
zeal for Divine charity, grant unto us that, after his 
example, we may forsake all earthly affections and live 
evermore in Thy love. Through Christ our Lord. 

Patronage of Our Blessed adp 


THE festival kept throughout the Dominican Order on 2nd Sun. 
the 2nd Sunday of November is a family feast, kept by m Nov< 
the children of Saint Dominic in memory of, and in 
gratitude for, the countless benefits they have received 
through the virginal hands of her whom their Constitu- 
tions call " our special Advocate and our most tender 
Mother and Patroness, who ever intercedes for us with 
God." On that day they beg of her, with renewed 
sentiments of confidence and gratitude, to continue to 
show herself a Mother to them, and to protect and 
deliver them in all their troubles and distresses, as she 
has ever done from the foundation of the Order even 
to our own day. 

It may be useful here briefly to recall some few of 
the most striking favours granted to the Order by its 
Heavenly Mother. She it was who, when her Son was 


322 Dominican Saints 

2nd Sun. angry with the world, pleaded with Him for mercy, 
in Nov. an 5 presented to Him her two faithful clients, Saint 
Dominic and Saint Francis, praying him to send them 
forth to convert sinners. When the Holy Patriarch 
of the Friars Preachers beheld in vision religious of 
every Order standing before God, and wept because he 
saw none of his own children, our Lord comforted him 
by the words : " I have given thine Order to my 
Mother." Then the Blessed Virgin opened her mantle, 
extending it before the eyes of Saint Dominic, so that 
its immensity seemed to cover the whole space of the 
heavenly country, and he saw under its folds a vast 
multitude of his children. This vision of the members 
of the Order gathered under the mantle of Mary was 
granted also to Blessed Ceslas, the brother of Saint 
Hyacinth, as well as to two holy recluses in Germany 
and Lombardy. Like a true Mother, Mary clothed her 
children, bestowing on them with her own hands that 
white scapular, which, as the novice is reminded at the 
moment of receiving it, is "the most distinguished 
part of the Dominican habit, the maternal pledge from 
heaven of the love of the Blessed Virgin Mary to- 
wards us." 

To Saint Dominic and his sons she entrusted the 
preaching of her Rosary, the special birthright and 
heritage of the Order. She has often shown herself in 
vision to her children, during the singing of the Salve, 
prostrating at the feet of her Divine Son, and pleading 
for the Order so dear to her heart. 

When Pope Innocent IV. published a Bull, A.D. 
1 244, by which the privileges of the Order were taken 
away and the Brethren left exposed to the unfriendly 
attacks of their opponents, they had recourse to Mary 
as to their only hope; and when, eleven years later, 
Pope Alexander IV. revoked the Bull of his pre- 
decessor and restored all the ancient rights and privi- 

Dominican Saints 323 

leges of the Order, these benefits were recognized to 2nd Sun, 
be directly the gift of God, through the intercession of "* Nov * 
the Blessed Virgin. 

Of the favours bestowed by the Mother of God on 
the Saints of the Order and of their filial love and de- 
votion towards her, it is impossible here to speak. 
She was their helper and consoler in life and their 
secure refuge at the hour of death. Hence from the 
first century of its existence it has been the universal 
practice in the Order to sing her Salve round the 
deathbed of its members, that so the children of Saint 
Dominic may pass from this vale of tears, their hearts 
echoing the familiar prayer whereby they have daily 
entreated the Mother of Mercy to show them, when 
this life's exile is ended, the blessed fruit of her womb, 


O God, who hast been pleased that the Order of 
Preachers should be instituted for the salvation of 
souls under the special patronage of the Most Blessed 
Virgin Mary, and should be laden with her perpetual 
benefits, grant to us, Thy suppliants, that we may be 
brought to heavenly glory protected by the assistance 
of her whose commemoration we this day celebrate. 
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Albert tbe Great, Bisbop 
and Confessor 

(A.D. 1203-1280) 

THIS distinguished man was born at Laubing in Nov. 15 
Swabia, on the banks of the Danube, about A.D. 1203. 
He was of noble parentage and sent to study at the 

324 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 15 University of Padua, where, however, he made little or 
no progress, being naturally dull and incapable of 
learning. But, in spite of his incapacity for human 
science, Blessed Albert made rapid advances in the 
science of the Saints and would willingly have devoted 
all his time to prayer and meditation. He was speci- 
ally fond of praying in the Dominican church ; but his 
uncle, who had charge of him, and who feared that he 
might be led to enter the Order, exacted from him a 
promise not to set foot in that church for a stated time. 
The promise was faithfully observed, but the youth 
continued to practise the devotion of the Rosary, 
which he had learnt from the Friars, earnestly implor- 
ing our Blessed Lady to obtain for him light to know 
the way in which God willed that he should serve Him 
and save his soul. One day, when he was thus pray- 
ing before her image, she appeared to him surrounded 
by light, and gave him the assurance of her continual 
patronage and of his eternal salvation, provided he 
should enter the Order of Preachers, of which she had 
obtained the institution from her Divine Son. As soon, 
therefore, as he was free from the engagement entered 
into with his uncle, he received the habit from the 
hands of Blessed Jordan of Saxony and was immedi- 
ately sent to study at Cologne. 

Here Blessed Albert found himself the companion 
and brother in religion of some of the most distin- 
guished learned men of the day ; and, being himself of 
very dull parts, the humiliating contrast filled him with 
confusion and discouragement. He was even on the 
point of giving up his vocation and abandoning the 
Order, when his Heavenly Mother once more came to 
his aid in a prophetic dream. It seemed to him that 
he was in the act of escaping from the Convent, when 
he found his way barred by some ladies of noble 
aspect, who, having inquired into the cause of his 

Dominican Saints 325 

flight, led him to the feet of one who appeared to be No*. 1$ 
their Queen and bade him ask her for the help he 
needed. Albert accordingly entreated Mary to take 
pity on him, and to obtain for him an illuminating grace 
to understand philosophy, which was then the subject 
of his study. The Mother of God condescended to 
his request, bidding him devote himself henceforth to 
prayer and study in the Order to which she had called 
him. He awoke to find himself no longer the same 
man, and the world very soon heard of the fame in 
every branch of science of " Albert the Philosopher." 
He became distinguished for his proficiency in natural 
science as well as in philosophy and theology. Indeed, 
his profound mastery of physical science in a day when 
such subjects were but little studied, gained for him 
among the vulgar the reputation of being a magician, 
in which character he figures in the popular tales and 
ballads of Germany. So deeply did he penetrate into 
the secrets of nature, that his humility became alarmed, 
and he prayed earnestly to his Heavenly Mother that 
she would not suffer his learning to be hurtful to his 
soul, and that he might use it solely for the glory of 
God. Our Lady once more appeared, and consoled 
him, promising him that his faith should not fail, 
and predicting that, in token of his wisdom being a 
heavenly gift, it should all be taken from him in the 
midst of a public disputation some time before his 

After teaching in several of the convents of Germany, 
Blessed Albert was sent to Paris, where such vast 
crowds flocked to hear him that he was obliged to 
deliver his lectures in the open air on a spot afterwards 
called "Place Maubert," i.e. the square of "Maitre 
(Master) Albert." 

After the death of Blessed Jordan he governed the 
Order in the capacity of Vicar-General until the elec- 

326 Dominican Saints 

NOT. 15 tion of Saint Raymund. He then returned to Cologne, 
and soon afterwards had as his disciples Saint Thomas 
Aquinas, Blessed Ambrose of Siena, Blessed James 
of Mevania, and other distinguished men. When a 
virulent attack was made on the mendicant Orders 
by the jealous hatred of William de Saint Amour, 
Blessed Albert took a leading part in the defence. He 
ruled the German Province of the Order with great 
firmness and prudence, and maintained regular obser- 
vance with the utmost strictness. Pope Urban IV. 
made him Bishop of Ratisbon, in which office he 
showed himself a true father of the poor and a faithful 
shepherd of the flock. After a time, by his earnest 
entreaties, he obtained permission to resign his dignity 
and retired into his beloved Convent of Cologne. He 
was compelled, however, to leave his solitude in order 
to take part in the General Council of Lyons, A.D. 
1274, after which he returned to Cologne to resume 
his life of prayer, study, and teaching. 

In the year 1277, in the midst of a public lecture, the 
holy old man suddenly lost the thread of his argu- 
ment and found himself unable to proceed. Recogniz- 
ing the fulfilment of the words spoken to him by our 
Blessed Lady long years before, he related to his 
astonished audience the history of his life, telling them 
how all his extraordinary intellectual gifts had come to 
him through Mary's intercession, and that their present 
failure was a sign of his approaching death. The three 
remaining years of his life were entirely consecrated to 
exercises of devotion ; and, having received the Last 
Sacraments, he died without an illness, seated in his 
chair, surrounded by his Brethren, on November 15, 
A.D. 1280. He was beatified by Clement X. 

Dominican Saints 3 2 7 


Graciously hear these our prayers, we beseech Thee, Nov. 15 
O Lord, which we offer up to Thee in memory of 
Blessed Albert, Thy Confessor' and Bishop, that, as he 
deserved to do Thee worthy service, so, through his 
merits and intercession, Thou wouldst mercifully ab- 
solve us from all our sins. Through Christ our Lord. 


Blessed Cucp or Rarni, Virgin 

(A.D. I476-IS44) 

BLESSED LUCY was born at Narni, in Umbria, on the Nov. 16 
1 3th of November, A.D. 1476, of the noble family of the 
Broccolelli. When she was quite a little child, one of 
her uncles brought some toys and pious objects from 
Rome as presents to his nephews and nieces. Lucy 
immediately made choice of a rosary and a little statue 
of the Infant Jesus as her share of the gifts ; and this 
" Christarello," as she called it, became the cherished 
object of her devotion. Going one day, when she was 
seven years old, to visit another uncle, in whose house 
she remembered to have seen a room, on the ceiling of 
which was a painting representing the holy angels, she 
wanted to behold the picture once more. She was un- 
willing to have any companion who might disturb her 
devotions, and yet the staircase which led to the room 
was too steep and difficult for her to climb alone. She 
therefore had recourse, as usual, to the Infant Jesus, 
and found herself miraculously transported to the 
apartment in question. Whilst praying there, she was 
favoured with a heavenly vision of our Divine Lord, 
accompanied by His Blessed Mother, Saint Dominic, 

328 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 16 Saint Catharine of Siena, and a glorious troop of angels 
and of saints. Jesus then espoused her to Himself, 
placing a precious ring upon her finger; and Saint 
Dominic and Saint Catharine took her under their 
special protection, the former bestowing upon her the 
scapular of his Order, which she continued to wear 
under her secular attire until she was able to assume 
it in public. Many other heavenly favours, together 
with the gift of prophecy, were granted to her during 
her childhood; and she was thrice miraculously re- 
stored to health by Saint Catharine of Siena and 
Saint Peter, Martyr. 

As she grew older, her family sought to give her in 
marriage, but Lucy firmly and courageously resisted ; 
until at length our Blessed Lady revealed to her that 
it was the will of God that she should accept the hand 
of a certain Count Pietro, and that her married life was 
to be an imitation of the holiness and purity of the 
house of Nazareth. Though she now had the manage- 
ment of a large household, which is said to have been 
as devout and well-ordered as a religious community, 
Blessed Lucy relaxed nothing of her customary exer- 
cises of prayer and practised heroic penance, daily 
receiving the discipline at the hands of one of her 
maids. Prompted by a spirit of humility, she would 
clothe herself in coarse and shabby clothes, and during 
several hours every day take part with her servants in 
the domestic work of the house, after which she re- 
sumed the rich attire which befitted her rank. 

After about four years of married life, Blessed Lucy 
resolved, in obedience to the express command of 
Heaven, to leave her husband and carry out her early 
desires of consecrating herself entirely to her Heavenly 
Spouse. She retired for a time to her mother's house, 
where the Prior of the Dominican Convent of Narni 
gave her the habit of the Third Order in the presence of 

Dominican Saints 329 

witnesses, and a week later received her to profession. Nov. 16 
She then proceeded to Rome, where her uncles procured 
her admission into a Monastery dedicated to Saint 
Catharine of Siena, in which she spent nearly a year. 
After this, she was sent to found a Convent of the 
Order at Viterbo ; and three years later, when she had 
attained the age of twenty-three, at the earnest request 
of Duke Hercules d'Este, the Pope commanded her to 
repair to Ferrara and establish a Convent in that city, 
of which she was appointed perpetual Prioress. During 
this time she had much to suffer from the Count, her 
husband ; but she at length succeeded in inducing him 
to take the habit of Saint Francis, in which he lived 
and died holily. 

Amongst many other miraculous visions and favours, 
Blessed Lucy was visibly marked with the sacred 
stigmata. She was held in universal esteem for her 
sanctity and miracles, and for her spirit of prophecy. 
But our Lord loved His faithful Spouse too well to 
leave her without a large share in His own chalice of 
suffering. Accordingly, after the death of her patron, 
the Duke of Ferrara, some members of the Community, 
whom she had had occasion to reprove for their evil 
lives, conspired against her, and by their calumnies, 
which were believed by the Superiors of the Order and 
by the Sovereign Pontiff himself, procured her deposi- 
tion from office. She was made to take the lowest 
place, deprived of any voice in the affairs of the Con- 
vent she had founded, forbidden to go out of the house 
or to speak with seculars, or even with her confessor, 
in whose place another confessor was assigned her who 
was prejudiced against her. For the remaining thirty- 
eight years of her life Blessed Lucy thus remained 
beneath the shadow of the Cross, often afflicted also in 
body by serious illness, in which she received no assist- 
ance from the Community, who had allowed themselves 

330 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 16 to be strangely blinded to her true character. But 
our Lord sent His Saints to visit and console her from 
heaven, and on one occasion miraculously transported 
Blessed Catharine of Raconigi, who was then still 
living, from her home in Savoy to spend the night 
in the cell of Blessed Lucy, whom she had ardently 
desired to see. 

The end came at last on the I5th of November, 
A.D. 1544. Having received the Last Sacraments, 
and with the joyful cry on her lips, " Away, away to 
heaven ! " she happily departed to her Spouse, whilst 
angelic melodies floated in the air around. Then the 
eyes of her Sisters were opened, and they buried her 
with great honour. Many miracles followed her death, 
and she was beatified by Benedict XIII. 


O God, who didst wonderfully adorn the Blessed 
Lucy with the marks of the Passion of Thy Son, and 
with the gifts of virginity and patience, and didst 
enable her to elude the blandishments of the world, and 
to overcome its persecutions ; grant that by her inter- 
cession and example we may neither be overcome by 
the allurements of the world nor sink under any of 
its adversities. Through the same Christ our Lord. 


Saint Catharine of Alexandria, Virgin 

and roartpr, Protectress of tfte 

Dominican Order 

Nov. 25 SAINT CATHARINE was born of noble parents at 
Alexandria in Egypt, and was richly gifted both in 
mind and body. She belonged to a pagan family, and 

Dominican Saints 33 1 

at first studied the doctrines of Christianity merely out Nov. 25 
of curiosity. She was captivated by their purity and 
beauty, but still held back from submitting her under- 
standing to the obedience of faith. A beautiful legend 
represents her to us as having been favoured with 
a vision of our Blessed Lady, who bore the Divine 
Infant in her arms. Catharine was enraptured with 
His charms ; but, when she would fain have caressed 
Him, He refused to look at her and even drove her 
from Him, saying that He could not bear the sight of 
her because she was unbaptized. As a result of this 
vision, she at last embraced the faith; and, shortly 
afterwards, she again beheld the Virgin Mother and 
the Holy Child, who this time pressed her to His 
heart and mystically espoused her to Himself, placing 
a ring upon her finger. Thenceforth she gave herself 
wholly to His love and service. 

When the Emperor Maximin began his persecution 
of the Christians in Alexandria, Saint Catharine, who 
was but eighteen years of age, boldly rebuked him for 
his impiety. The tyrant inquired into the history of 
the fair and modest maiden who stood so courageously 
before him ; and, on learning that she was much given 
to the study of philosophy, he summoned learned 
men from all parts of his empire to come and dispute 
with her, and, if possible, induce her to renounce the 
faith. Fifty philosophers obeyed the imperial call ; but 
Saint Catharine silenced them by her invincible argu- 
ments, and succeeded in winning them all to Christ, for 
whose Name they suffered a glorious martyrdom by 

The Emperor then had recourse to promises and 
flatteries in order to persuade the Holy Virgin to give 
up Christianity. Finding these of no avail, he caused 
her to be most cruelly scourged, and then shut up 
in a dark prison, and left without food. All were 

332 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 25 astonished at the fortitude with which this young and 
delicate maiden bore her torments. Moved by curiosity, 
the Empress herself came to visit her, accompanied by 
Porphyry, the captain of the guard, and two hundred 
soldiers. Such was the divine power imparted to the 
burning words of Saint Catharine that she persuaded 
her visitors to embrace the faith, and they all sub- 
sequently shed their blood for Christ. Our Lord 
miraculously supplied the Saint with food in her cap- 
tivity, sent His angels to comfort her and cure her 
wounds, and even vouchsafed to come Himself to visit 
her. Hence when, at the end of twelve days, she was 
again summoned before the Emperor, he found her, to 
his astonishment, as beautiful and in as good health as 
when she had first presented herself before him. 

As neither threats nor promises were of any avail 
to induce her to offer sacrifice to the idols, Maximin 
ordered her to be torn to pieces on an instrument of 
torture consisting of four wheels armed with sharp 
spikes. But no sooner was the Spouse of Christ 
fastened to it than an angel broke her bonds, and at the 
same time wrenched the wheels asunder with such 
force that they dashed against the pagans and killed 
several of them. Then the tyrant commanded that 
the Saint should be beheaded. On hearing the 
sentence she exclaimed : " O Jesus, good King, I 
await the sword for Thy sake; do Thou deign to 
receive my spirit, and to show mercy to those who 
honour my memory." And a heavenly voice made 
answer: "Come, My chosen one, come; enter into 
the bridal chamber of thy Spouse. Thou hast obtained 
the grant of thy petition, and it shall be well with them 
that praise thee." After her death, which took place 
early in the fourth century, a graceful legend represents 
her body as having been borne by the angels to the 
summit of Mount Sinai and there buried by them. 

Dominican Saints 333 

Some authors, however, assert that by " angels " we Nov. 
are to understand monks, who were regarded as earthly 
angels ; and that Saint Catharine's remains, after being 
first interred in Egypt, were translated in the eighth 
century to the celebrated monastery on Mount Sinai, 
which had been built by Saint Helen and enlarged and 
beautified by the Emperor Justinian. 

In consequence of her extraordinary learning, Saint 
Catharine is regarded as the patroness of Christian 
philosophy ; and this circumstance, taken in connection 
with her successful apostolate for souls, is doubtless 
the main cause of her being considered as a special 
Protectress of the Order of Preachers, which glories 
in the name of the Order of Truth and has ever been 
distinguished alike for its eminent learning and its zeal 
for souls. The Saint has herself deigned on several 
occasions to manifest a particular interest in the 
children of Saint Dominic, as the lives of their Saints 
testify. To mention but three instances. It was she 
who, together with Saint Cecilia, accompanied our 
Blessed Lady when she anointed Blessed Reginald 
and gave him the habit of the Order, which she is said 
to have taken from the hands of the Virgin Martyr of 
Alexandria. The same two Martyr Spouses of Christ 
were again in attendance on the Mother of God when 
she showed herself to our Holy Father in the dormi- 
tory at Santa Sabina, sprinkling the Brethren with 
holy water as they slept. Finally, it was Saint Catha- 
rine who, in company with the other holy Protectress 
of the Order, Saint Mary Magdalen, came with the 
Queen of Heaven to bring the miraculous picture of 
Saint Dominic to Soriano. 


O God, who didst give the law to Moses on the 
summit of Mount Sinai, and didst by Thy holy angels 

334 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 25 wonderfully transport the body of Blessed Catharine, 
Thy Virgin and Martyr, to the same place, grant, we 
beseech Thee, that by her merits and intercession we 
may be able to come to the mountain which is Christ. 
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Margaret of Saoop, Widow 

(A.D. 1382-1464) 

Nov. 27 BLESSED MARGARET was the daughter of Amadeus 
II., Prince of Piedmont, of the House of Savoy, and 
was born about A.D. 1382. Her remarkable beauty 
and virtue caused her hand to be eagerly sought by 
many illustrious suitors ; it was granted about A.D. 
1403 to the Marquis of Montserrat, as a means of con- 
solidating the peace which had recently been made 
between the Italian princes. He was worthy of his 
saintly consort, and acquired among his contemporaries 
the honourable title of Theodore the Religious. Their 
life together exhibited a bright example of every virtue 
which could adorn their lofty station. They were 
animated to yet greater fervour and more munificent 
liberality to the Church and the poor by the preaching 
of Saint Vincent Ferrer, under whose direction Blessed 
Margaret commenced the practice of severe but secret 
austerity and of almost continual prayer. 

Her husband dying in the fifteenth year of their 
married life, Blessed Margaret immediately consecrated 
herself to the King of Heaven by a vow of perpetual 
chastity, and retired into private life in the city of 
Alba. Here she gave herself up entirely to exercises 
of charity and devotion. The fame of her beauty and 
virtue induced many princes, and amongst others 

Dominican Saints 335 

Philip Visconti, Duke of Milan, to seek her in marriage, Nov. 27 
but she firmly rejected all such overtures, assigning as 
her reason the vow by which she had bound herself. 
The Duke of Milan, however, would take no refusal ; 
and, having obtained from the Pope an ample dispen- 
sation from the vow, pressed his suit with renewed 
earnestness. Margaret was in no way affected by 
these embassies, and replied with the same firmness as 
before that she sought for no dispensation from her 
voluntary vow to be the Spouse of none but God, and 
that she trusted in the Duke's charity not further to 
disturb her retirement. In order to assume a character 
which should effectually protect her from all such 
solicitations for the future, she took the habit of the 
Third Order, by the counsel of her former director, 
Saint Vincent, who, having now departed to a better 
life, appeared to her in a vision to comfort and advise 
her. Many noble ladies joined her in her retirement, 
and together they devoted themselves to works of 
mercy and piety. 

Blessed Margaret was soon attacked by a painful 
malady, which almost shook her patience. But our 
Blessed Lady visited her on her sick-bed to encourage 
her to resignation, and our Lord Himself appeared to 
her, surrounded by a multitude of angels, holding in 
His hand three darts inscribed with the words : 
Calumny, Sickness, and Persecutions, bidding her 
choose amongst them. The servant of God abandoned 
herself wholly to His Divine will, and He left her with 
all three, which she received and lovingly embraced, as 
the vision vanished from her sight. Very soon its 
fulfilment was seen in the accumulation of trials of each 
kind which poured in upon her. The calumnies pro- 
ceeded chiefly from the court of the Duke of Milan, 
who accused her to the Pope of trying to revive the 
heresy of the Waldenses. The only effect of these 

336 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 27 trials on Blessed Margaret was to increase her desire 
to give herself wholly to God. She accordingly built 
a Convent at Alba, dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalen, 
in which she and her companions made their solemn 
profession, forming in all an enclosed Community ot 
sixty, a Dominican Father of the name of Manfred 
being appointed their Apostolic Vicar and Superior, and 
Blessed Margaret herself becoming the first Prioress. 

In this capacity it was her earnest endeavour to 
preserve the true spirit of religious observance amongst 
those committed to her care, and God gave her a 
wonderful insight into the souls of her spiritual 
children. Thus, one Sister who had borne the reputa- 
tion of a Saint happening to die, the Community were 
in great grief and loud in their expressions of admira- 
tion for the holiness of the deceased religious. Blessed 
Margaret, however, put small trust in the appearance 
of sanctity which had so successfully imposed upon 
others. She felt an inward doubt even as to the salva- 
tion of this soul ; and, as she was praying to God for 
the discovery of the truth, the deceased sister appeared 
to her and declared herself eternally lost, all her good 
works having been performed out of a desire of human 
praise. Then, stooping to the ground, the miserable 
creature took up a handful of dust which she threw 
into the air, exclaiming : " Such were my actions ! " 
and then disappeared. 

Blessed Margaret worked many miracles, curing the 
sick, multiplying the provisions of the Convent, and 
calming by her prayers a horrible tempest which 
threatened to destroy the city of Alba. When the 
storm ceased, the voices of the evil spirits were heard 
in the air, cursing her by name for having frustrated 
their malignant designs. Two days before her happy 
death, she desired the Sisters to lift her out of bed and 
lay her prostrate on the ground at the feet of our 

Dominican Saints 337 

Lord. They complied with her desire, though they Nov. 27 
themselves could see nothing. Then the cell became 
radiant with celestial light and a sweet harmony 
announced the presence of the angelic choirs and of 
our Divine Lord Himself, whom Blessed Margaret 
adored with expressions of the most ardent love. These 
heavenly harmonies were heard also on the following 
day, which was the Feast of Saint Cecilia. As the 
dying servant of God received the Last Sacraments, an 
unknown religious was observed supporting her, who 
was believed to be Saint Catharine of Siena. At her 
death, which took place on November 23, A.D. 1464, 
the bell tolled of itself, and woke up the citizens of 
Alba, many of whom beheld a resplendent procession 
of Saints, bearing lighted torches in their hands, direct- 
ing their steps towards the Convent. Many miracles 
ensued, and Blessed Margaret was finally beatified by 
Clement X. 


O God, who didst teach Blessed Margaret to forsake 
with all her heart the pomps of this world for the 
humble following of Thy Cross, grant that, by her 
merits and example, we may learn to tread under foot 
the perishable delights of the world, and in the 
embraces of Thy Cross to overcome all adversities. 
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. 


Blessed James Beneratti, Bisbop and 

(A.D. 1338) 

BLESSED JAMES was born at Mantua, and entered the Nov. 29 
Dominican Order in the Convent of that city, in which 


338 Dominican Saints 

Nov. 29 he became a mirror of learning and holiness. His 
virtue and talents greatly endeared him to Cardinal 
Nicholas Boccasino, who had been General of the 
Order, and who subsequently was raised to the See of 
Saint Peter under the title of Benedict XL, and to the 
altars of the Church by solemn beatification. Blessed 
James became the chosen companion of his journeys 
when Cardinal, and was retained near his person after 
his elevation to the pontificate. He was also held in 
great esteem by Pope John XXII., who (A.D. 1320) 
consecrated him Bishop of his native city of Mantua. 
Blessed James governed the diocese committed to his 
care with the utmost justice, zeal, and charity for the 
space of eighteen years, earning for himself the char- 
acter of a faithful shepherd and a true father of the 
poor, and universally regarded as a model of sanctity. 
His death took place on November 19, 1338, and he 
was laid to rest, according to his own desire, in the 
Church of his Order at Mantua, which he had enriched 
with valuable altar furniture. 

So numerous and remarkable were the miracles 
worked immediately after his death, that the title of 
Blessed was at once popularly bestowed upon him and 
was even inscribed on his tombstone ; and his picture, 
with his head surrounded by rays of light, was placed 
in the Choir of the religious. In course of time, how- 
ever, his memory fell into oblivion, until the year 
1483, when, as some repairs were being made in the 
church, his tomb was accidentally opened and his body 
was found perfectly incorrupt, the coffin and winding- 
sheet being as fresh and unsoiled as though he had 
just been buried. A number of miracles again attested 
the sanctity of the holy Bishop, and his sacred remains 
were removed to a more suitable place near the High 
Altar, where the faithful were in the habit of burning 
many lamps and tapers in his honour. 

Dominican Saints 339 

The devotion to Blessed James again somewhat Nov. 29 
cooled down, probably owing to the fact that no parti- 
culars of his life had been preserved, but it was revived 
once more in the year 1604, when the tomb was again 
opened, two hundred and sixty-six years after his 
death, and the body was once more found almost entire. 
The Bishop of Mantua assisted at this second transla- 
tion; and, declaring Blessed James to have enjoyed 
from time immemorial the honours of a Saint, he 
solemnly chanted the Antiphon and Prayer of a Bishop 
and Confessor in presence of a great concourse of 
people. The holy remains were then carried in pro- 
cession to the Sacristy, where they were deposited 
until the repairs of the church were completed. 
Wonderful to relate, whilst they reposed there, fresh 
blood flowed from a part of the body where the skin 
had been broken, and worked many miracles. Blessed 
James appears to have special power to deliver those 
who are possessed by evil spirits. He was beatified 
by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst grant to Blessed James, Thy 
Confessor and Bishop, faithfully to discharge all the 
duties of a good shepherd, grant us, by his intercession, 
that, walking by the way of Thy commandments, we 
may deserve to find a home for ever among the sheep 
of Thy pasture. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Sebastian ittagcji, Confessor 

(A.D. 1496) 

BLESSED SEBASTIAN, of the noble family of the Maggi, Dec. 16 
was born at Brescia in the north of Italy early in the 

340 Dominican Saints 

Dec. 16 fifteenth century. From boyhood he gave evident 
signs of future sanctity, and, in order more effectually 
to secure his own salvation and to labour for that of 
others, he entered the Dominican Order at an early 
age. He ever united great innocence of life with the 
practice of severe bodily penance, observed his Rule 
with the minutest fidelity, and made rapid progress in 
learning and sanctity. His preaching was attended 
with wonderful success; he brought great multitudes of 
sinners to repentance, reconciled many who were at 
variance, and established or strengthened solid piety in 
several Italian cities. 

He successively governed many Convents of his 
Order with great prudence and charity and built for 
his Brethren a much larger and more conveniently 
situated church than they had hitherto possessed in 
Milan, in which work he was greatly assisted by the 
alms of the faithful, and especially of Duchess Beatrice, 
whose Confessor he was. He twice held the office of 
Vicar of the reformed Congregation of Lombardy, 
and was the contemporary and for a time the Supe- 
rior of another great servant of God, Father Jerome 
Savonarola, whom he appointed instructor of the 
Novices at the early age of twenty-nine, within seven 
years of the commencement of his noviciate. Burla- 
macchi says that Blessed Sebastian heard the con- 
fession of Savonarola more than a hundred times, and 
had for him all through his life the greatest possible 
esteem, as he regarded him as a man of pure and 
blameless life. 

The virtues of Blessed Sebastian chiefly displayed 
themselves in his manner of governing. His authority 
was mingled with so much charity and humility that he 
seemed to be rather the servant than the superior of 
his Brethren. He loved with his own hands to wait 
upon them when they were in health and to minister to 

Dominican Saints 341 

them when they were sick. It was commonly said of Dec. 16 
him that he went to visit the sick as joyfully as some 
would go to a wedding. In correction, his only thought 
was the glory of God and the amendment of his sub- 
ject ; and he always sought to persuade the offender 
to acknowledge his fault before receiving punishment. 
"When you have committed a fault," he would say, 
"come to me, not as Prior, but as your father. If 
you will not have me as a father, you will find me a 
severe judge." Hence, to those who openly and 
readily acknowledged their faults, he was very indul- 
gent, giving them secret penances and concealing their 
weaknesses from others, that so they might not be 

He was of most austere life and a rigid maintainer 
of religious observance. Never was he known to absent 
himself from the choir or the refectory; and he was 
loved and revered by all his subjects for his own exact 
obedience to the rules he enforced on others. He 
laboured long at the reformation of the Convent of 
Lodi, where he and his Brethren led a very hard life, 
supported only by the alms which they daily begged 
from door to door. 

Blessed Sebastian's death was hastened by his hold- 
ing a visitation of his Province when he was suffering 
from grievous sickness and extreme old age. On 
arriving at the Convent of Santa Maria di Castello at 
Genoa, he turned to his companions and told them 
that this would be the place of his rest for ever. 
Having received the last rites of the Church, he peace- 
fully departed to our Lord, A.D. 1496. His holy body 
remains incorrupt even to our own day ; he has worked 
many miracles, and is held in great veneration. He 
was beatified by Clement XIII. 

342 Dominican Saints 


Dec. 16 O God, who madest Blessed Sebastian, Thy Con- 
fessor, wonderful for his singular zeal in the practice 
of regular discipline and evangelical perfection, merci- 
fully grant that, following his example, we may be 
mortified in the flesh but quickened in the spirit, and 
so attain to everlasting rewards. Through Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 


Blessed Iftarp Iftancini, Widow 

(A.D. 1431) 

Dec. 22 THIS holy servant of God, who is best known under 
the name of Blessed Mary of Pisa, was called Catharine 
in baptism, and belonged to the noble family of the 
Mancini. Whilst still in tender years she began to 
receive many wonderful supernatural favours. At 
three years old she was warned by her guardian angel 
that the portico under which her nurse had laid her 
was in an unsafe condition ; and the moment she left 
it the building fell to the ground. At five and a half, 
she was favoured with an extasy, in which she found 
herself transported to a palace in Pisa, in which Peter 
Gambacorti, one of the chief citizens, was a prisoner. 
The unhappy nobleman was at that moment under- 
going torture, but at the prayer of the innocent child 
the rope by which he was suspended broke and 
he was set free. Our Blessed Lady bade the little 
Catharine daily recite seven Hail Maries on his behalf, 
telling her that she would one day be supported at 
his expense. 

When scarcely twelve years old, Catharine's friends 
compelled her to marry ; and before she was sixteen 

Dominican Saints 343 

she found herself a widow. Her family insisted on Dec. 22 
her once more engaging in the married state; but 
her second husband died when she was not yet 
twenty-five. Most of her children had passed away 
in infancy, and the others did not long survive their 
father ; so that Catharine now found herself able to 
follow her attraction to prayer and penance with 
greater freedom than had hitherto been possible. She 
absolutely refused to yield to the solicitations of her 
brother, who wanted her to take a third husband; 
and choosing as her companion a pious servant 
well advanced in years, she devoted herself to a 
life of mingled contemplation, austerity, and active 
works of charity. Every night she took a severe 
discipline and devoted several hours to prayer, rising 
for this purpose as soon as she heard the first bell 
for Matins ring in the neighbouring Convent of the 
Friars Preachers. Early in the morning she repaired 
to their church and assisted at all the Masses, and 
then returned home to spin. Her afternoon was also 
divided between devotional exercises in the church 
and humble labour. She distributed her earnings to 
the poor and sick, whom she constantly visited, only 
retaining for herself just sufficient to provide the neces- 
sities of life. She received many of the sick poor into 
her house, nursing them with the utmost tenderness 
and serving them with her own hands. 

Qne day she found at her door a young man of 
extraordinary beauty, but very poorly clad and covered 
with wounds. She brought him into the house, and 
washed and dressed his sores, and, before dismissing 
him, bade him return as often as he stood in need of 
the same charitable offices. The young man laid his 
hand on her head and gave her a solemn blessing, add- 
ing that he would not fail to visit her again. After his 
departure, Catharine, going to perform her customary 

344 Dominican Saints 

Dec. 22 mortification of drinking some of the water with which 
she had washed his wounds, tasted such ineffable 
sweetness, that she began to suspect she had been 
favoured by some heavenly visitant. Then her Angel 
told her, that, in reward of her charity to His poor, her 
Divine Spouse had come Himself in the garb of a 
beggar to receive her services. 

In the spring of the year 1375, Saint Catharine of 
Siena visited Pisa and a sweet and holy friendship 
sprang up between her and the holy widow. On 
Easter Sunday, when they were both praying in the 
Chapel of the Annunciation in the Dominican church, 
they were in the sight of all the people covered by a 
beautiful and shining cloud, out of which flew a white 
dove. It was probably at this time that the seraphic 
Saint of Siena persuaded her namesake to enter the 
Third Order; though others say that the latter took 
the step in consequence of a vision in which Saint 
Catharine appeared to her after death, and in which 
she gave her many practical instructions in the spiri- 
tual life. 

In course of time, the holy widow retired into the 
enclosed Convent of the Holy Cross, apparently of the 
Second Order, receiving in religion the name of Sister 
Mary. Some of the relaxed habits of the age seem to 
have crept into this otherwise edifying community ; 
and only seven of its members, including Blessed Mary 
and the young Blessed Clara Gambacorti, practised 
poverty in all its strictness. At the end of eight years 
the two blessed servants of God, accompanied by five 
other Sisters, withdrew into the new Convent of Saint 
Dominic, which Peter Gambacorti had built for his 
daughter ; and thus was fulfilled the prophecy which 
Our Lady had made to Blessed Mary long years before, 
that she should one day be supported at the expense 
of that nobleman. Here they lived in great fervour 

Dominican Saints 345 

and strictness of observance. Blessed Mary continued Dec. 22 
to be favoured in religion, as she had been in the 
world, with many supernatural favours and revela- 
tions. To obtain the explanation of one of these, she 
had recourse to Alfonso Vadaterra, Bishop of Jaen 
and former Confessor of Saint Bridget. He was one 
of the most distinguished men of his day and an 
intimate friend of the Gambacorti family; and his 
reply to Blessed Mary is still preserved. After the 
death of Blessed Clara, her faithful companion suc- 
ceeded her in the office of Prioress. She at length 
happily departed this life on January 22, A.D. 1431, 
and was beatified by Pius IX. 


O God, who didst prevent Blessed Mary with the 
abundance of Thy grace and didst make her won- 
derful by the gift of contemplation and by exceed- 
ing great charity towards her neighbours, grant us, 
that, by her imitation, meditating on heavenly things 
and showing mercy to others, we may merit to attain 
to eternal glory together with her. Through Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 












Blessed Jane of Aza, Mother of Saint Dominic . 

About 1190 

Aug. 2 


Blessed Reginald of Orleans, C. 



Feb. 12 


Our Holy Father, Saint Dominic . 


Aug. 4 


Blessed Bertrand of Garrigua, C. . 



Sept. 6 

2 S3 

Blessed Mannes, C., Brother of Saint Dominic 



July 30 


Blessed Jordan of Saxony, C 


Feb. 15 


Blessed Diana, V 



June 9 


Blessed Amata, V 

i3th century 


Blessed William Arnauld \ \/r * ( 
Blessed Bernard of Rochefort . ( Martyrs I 



May 29 


Blessed Ceslas, C 

! 1184-1242 

July 1 8 


Blessed Guala, B.C 



Sept. 3 


Blessed Peter Gonzalez, C 



April 14 


Saint Peter, M 



April 29 


Blessed Nicholas Palea of Giovinazzo, C. 



Feb. 14 


Saint Hyacinth, C 



Aug. 1 6 


Blessed Gonsalvo of Amarantha, C. 



Jan. 10 


Blessed Sadoc and his forty-eight com- ) 
panions, Martyrs of Sandomir . . ) 



June 2 


Blessed John of Salerno, C 


1 3th century 

Aug. 9 


Blessed Egidius of Portugal, C. 



May 14 


Blessed Margaret of Hungary, V. . 



Jan. 26 


Blessed Bartholomew Breganza, B.C. . 



Oct. 23 


Saint Thomas Aquinas, C.D. , Patron of) 
Catholic Schools f 



Mar. 7 


Saint Raymund Pennafort, C. 



Jan. 23 


Blessed Innocent V., P. C 


June 22 


Blessed Albert of Bergamo .... 



May 13 


Blessed Albert the Great, B.C. 



Nov. 15 


Blessed Ambrose Sansedonio, C. . 

( f 


Mar. 22 


Blessed Cecilia, V 



June 9 

1 68 

Blessed Benvenuta, V 



Oct. 29 


Blessed James of Voragine, B.C. . 



July 13 


Blessed Dominic and Gregory, CC. 
Blessed James of Mevania, C. 

I3th century 

April 26 
Aug. 23 


Blessed Benedict XI., P.C 



July 7 


1 Where only one date is given, it is that of death. 


Chronological List of 






Blessed Jane of Orvieto 



July 23 


Blessed Jordan of Pisa, C 



Mar. 6 



May qi 


Blessed Emily Bicchieri, V 


O O T^ 

y 3 

Aug. 17 


Saint Agnes of Monte Pulciano, V. 



April 20 


Blessed Simon Ballachi, C., Lay Brother 


I 3 I 9 

Nov. 3 


Blessed Margaret of Castello, V. . . 



April 13 


Blessed Augustine of Lucera, B.C. 



Aug. 8 


Blessed Imelda Lambertini, V. ... 



Sept. 16 


Blessed James Benefatti, B.C. 


I33 8 

Nov. 29 


Blessed Dalmatius Moner, C. ... 


Sept. 26 


Blessed Villana de Botti 



Feb. 28 


Blessed Henry Suso, C 



Mar. 2 


Blessed Peter of Ruffia, M 


Nov. 7 


Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi, V 



Mar. 18 

O 3 


Blessed Anthony Pavone, M 



April 9 


Saint Catharine of Siena, V. , Patroness of ) 
Rome ....... f 



April 30 


Blessed Marcolino of Forli, C. 



Jan. 24 


Blessed Raymund of Capua, C. 


Oct. 5 


Saint Vincent Ferrer, C. .... 



April 5 


Blessed Clara Gambacorti, W. 



April 17 


Blessed Alvarez of Cordova, C. 



Feb. 19 


Blessed John Dominici, B.C 


June 10 


Blessed Maria Mancini, W 


I 43 I 

Dec. 22 


Blessed Peter of Tiferno, C 



Oct. 22 


Blessed Stephen Bandelli, C 


June 12 

J 74 

Blessed Peter di Jeremia, C 



Mar. 10 


Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta, C. 



Feb. 18 


Saint Antoninus, B.C. 



May 10 


Blessed Anthony della Chiesa .... 


i395- T 459 

July 28 


Blessed Anthony Neyrot, M 


April 10 


Blessed Margaret of Savoy, W. 



Nov. 27 


Blessed Bartholomew of Cerverio, M. 



April 21 


Blessed Matthew Carrerii, C. ... 


Oct. 7 


Blessed Constantius of Fabriano, C. 


Feb. 25 


Blessed Christopher of Milan, C. . . 



Mar. i 


Blessed Damian Furcher, C 



Oct. 26 


Blessed Andrew of Peschiera, C. 


Jan. 19 


Blessed Bernard of Scammacca, C. 


Feb. 9 


Blessed Jane of Portugal, V 



May 12 


Blessed James of Ulm, C., Lay Brother . 



Oct. 12 


Blessed Augustine of Bugella, C. . 


July 27 


Blessed Aimo Taparelli, C 



Feb. 21 


Blessed Sebastian Maggi, C 



Dec. 16 


Blessed Mark of Modena, C 


July 3 


Blessed Columba of Rieti, V 



May 20 


Blessed Magdalen Pannatieri, V. . 
Blessed Osanna of Mantua, V. ... 


Oct. 14 
June 1 8 


Blessed John Liccio, C 



Nov. 14 


Blessed Stephana of Soncino, V. ... 
Blessed Lucy of Narni, V 



Jan. 16 
Nov. 16 

3 2 7 

Blessed Catharine of Racconigi, V. 



Sept. 5 


Saint Pius V., P.C 



May 5 


Saint John of Cologne, Martyr of Gorcum 


July 9 


Dominican Saints 







Blessed Maria Bartolomea Bagnesi V. 



May 28 


Saint Lewis Bertrand, C. 



Oct. 10 


Saint Catharine de Ricci, V. . 




Feb. 13 


Saint Rose of Lima, V. . 


Aug. 30 


Blessed Alphonsus Naverette . 



June i 

Blessed John of Saint Dominic 

, , 




Blessed Lewis Flores 



Blessed Francis Morales . 


' tt 



Blessed Angelo Orsucci . 


< u* 




1 1 

Blessed Alphonsus de Mena . 

,_ i 

3 >* 




i ( 

Blessed Joseph of Saint Hyacinth 




, , 

Blessed Hyacinth Orphanel 
Blessed Thomas of the Holy Ghost 






Blessed Peter Vasquez . 






Blessed Lewis Bertrand . 





Blessed Dominic Castellet 





Blessed Alexis .... A | 





Blessed Thomas of the Rosary I ^ j 






Blessed Dominic of the Rosary J- "g C 



5" o" 


1 7th century 



Blessed Mancio of Saint Thomas I ? c 


3 *' 





Blessed Dominic * : 






Blessed Mancio of the Cross . ^ 5' 







Blessed Peter of Saint Mary . 1 ^ | 



, , 




Blessed Thomas of Saint Hyacinth j " ^ 
Blessed Anthony of Saint Dominic J ? E 







Blessed Michael Diaz 




Blessed Paul Nangasci . 




Blessed Thecla .... 




Blessed Peter 




Blessed Mary Tocuan . 

, , 


Blessed Agnes Taquea . 



Blessed Mary Xoum . 

, , 



Blessed Caspar Cotenda . 




Blessed Francis . 

Blessed Peter 






Blessed Lewis Giaciqui . 





Blessed Lucy (his wife) . 






Blessed Andrew \ tneir children 





Blessed Francis Curobiori 






Blessed Caius Jemon . 






Blessed Magdalen Chiota 







Blessed Frances . 






Blessed John Tomachi . 

< ( 






Blessed Michael 


, , 




Blessed Thomas . . . . 

Blessed Paul 

Blessed Romanus . 

, , 



Blessed Leo 




Blessed James Faiascida . 




Blessed Matthew Alvarez 




Blessed John Imamura . 




Blessed Paul 




Blessed Michael Jamada 





Chronological List of 






Blessed Lawrence . . . . "| 5 


June I 


Blessed Lewis Nifaci 

, , 

Blessed Francis .... v 


, , 



Blessed Dominic .... / 





Blessed Louisa . . . . [ c 





Blessed Michael Fimonoia . . '^ 


( ( 


( , 

Blessed Paul Fimonoia . 




Blessed Dominic Xobiori . . J c 



, , 

Blessed Caspar Fisogiro . . . . v 
Blessed Andrew Gioscinda . . . 1 



Blessed Andrew Tocuan .... 


t ( 

Blessed Cosmas Taquea .... 



Blessed John Xoum .... 

j t 

, , 

Blessed Dominic Georgi .... 

, , 


Blessed Bartholomew .... 



Blessed Anthony Chimura 



Blessed John Ivananga .... 



Blessed Alexis Nacamura 



Blessed Leo Nacanisci .... 



Bussed Michael Tascita .... 



Blessed Matthias Cozaca 



Blessed Romanus Matevoia . 



Blessed Matthias Nacano . . 



Blessed John Motaiana .... 




Blessed Thomas Cotenda 




Blessed Simon Quiota . . ... 




Blessed Magdalen ..... 




Blessed Thomas Guengoro 



, , 


Blessed Mary 



Blessed James 





Blessed Joachim Firaiana 




Blessed Leo Sucheiemon 

1 n 




Blessed John Foiamon .... 




Blessed Mark Xineiemon 





Blessed Thomas Coianagui 



Blessed Anthony Giamando . 



Blessed James Densci .... 




Blessed Lawrence Rocuiemon 




Blessed Paul Sanciqui .... 


f , 

Blessed Bartholomew Mofioie 


t ( 

Blessed James Yago .... 



Blessed John Kangata .... 


Blessed Anthony Sanga .... 
Blessed Magdalen 


Blessed Anthony (a Corean) . 



Blessed Mary 



Blessed John 




Blessed Peter 

Blessed Paul Tanaca .... 

Blessed Mary 


Blessed Elizabeth Fernandez . 

Blessed Ignatius 

Blessed Apollonius 


Blessed Dominic Xamada 


Blessed Clare / 


Dominican Saints 




Feast. Page. 


Blessed Dominic Nacano . 

June i 159 

Blessed Bartholomew Xichiemon . ^ 

Blessed Damian Jamichi . . p 

M M 

Blessed Michael .... 2 *> 


Blessed Thomas Xiquiro . . *jj 8 

cr et 
o " 

M 1 

Blessed Rufus Iscimola . . . g- a. 


Blessed Clement Vom ... ,!, 



Blessed Anthony .... - w 

5 3. 


I I 1 

Blessed Dominic Ongata 


I 1 I 

Blessed Catharine .... 

> I 

Blessed Mary Tanaura 1 . 


Blessed Martin Porres C ... 



Nov. 5 1 309 

Blessed John Massias, Lay Brother, C. . 

o ** 


O ( O y 

Oct. 3 271 

Blessed Francis Possadas, C. . . . . \ ,, 


Sept. 20 263 

Blessed Lewis Mary Grignon de Montfort, C. 3rd 

1673-1716 May 23 ; 139 

Blessed Peter Sanz, B.M. \ f ist 

1680-1747 i May 27 146 

Blessed Francis Serrano, M. . | Martyrs 1 ,, 


Blessed John Alcober, M. . > in / , , 


Blessed Joachim Royo, M. . ( China j ,, 


Blessed Frances Diaz, M. . ) \\ ,, 


Blessed Dominic Henares, B.M. . . \ ,, 

1765-1838 July ii 191 

Blessed Vincent Yen, M. 


Blessed Joseph Peter Uyen, M. (catechist) 


: i775-i 8 38 

Blessed Clement Ignatius Delgado y ) 
Cebrian, B.M J 




Blessed Joseph Fernandez, M. 



Blessed Dominic Dieu, alias Hanh, M. . 



1772-1838 ,, 

Blessed Peter Tu, M 




Blessed Joseph Canh, M. (physician) 


3 rd 

1768-1838 i 

Blessed Dominic Tuoc, M. 



1775-1839 ' ,, 

Blessed Thomas Du, M. . . . \ g- 



.. ii 

Blessed Dominic D6an, alias Xuy6n, M. 


, , 



Blessed Francis Xavier Mau (catechist) . 



> > 

Blessed Dominic Uy, M. (catechist) 




i 1 1 

Blessed Thomas De, M. (tailor) 



1812-1839 : 

Blessed Augustine M6i, M. (peasant) 
Blessed Stephen Vinh, M. (peasant) 



j 1808-1839 , , 
j 1814-1839 

Blessed Joseph Hien, M. 


j 1770-1840 I 

Blessed Thomas Toan, M. (catechist) . 



Blessed Dominic Trach, alias Doai, M. . 



Blessed Augustine Schceffler 2 (Priest of ) 
the Paris Society of Foreign Missions) ) / 



1 There is some discrepancy in the lists given by different authors as to the 
number and classification of the native Japanese Martyrs. The Lessons of the 
Breviary merely state that out of the two hundred and five Martyrs beatified by 
Pius IX. on July 7, 1867, "more than half belonged to the Order of Preachers." 
The list given above is taken from that printed by Very Revd. Father B. Wilber- 
force, O.P., in his "Lives of Dominican Missionaries in Japan," and which he 
copied from a little Belgian publication issued for the Triduo held in honour of the 
Beatified Martyrs. 

2 The blessed servant of God, Augustine Schcefner, was born A.D. 1822 in the 
diocese of Nancy in France, and was a pupil in the Petit Seminaire at Pont-a- 
Mousson at the time that the Abbe" Jan del, afterwards Master-General of the 


Chronological List of Saints 




July ii 


Blessed Francis Chien, alias Chieu \ o M 
(catechist) 1 
Blessed Peter Tuan (secular priest) . j? 3 |f 
Blessed Bernard Du (secular priest) ~ 5' 3. 
Blessed Joseph Nien, alias Vin \ 3 S^ 
(secular priest) . . . f j** . 
Blessed Augustine Huy (soldier) . o g ^ 
Blessed Nicholas The (soldier) . ja ^ ' & 
Blessed Dominic or Nicholas Dat i o' n 
(soldier) / - 3 5 


Dominican Order, was at the head of that establishment. The young Augustine 
was received into the Third Order and made his profession at Nancy in 1846, in 
which year he joined the Paris Society of Foreign Missions. In the following year 
he was sent to Western Tonquin, where he laboured zealously in the districts com- 
mitted to his charge until he received the crown of martyrdom, being beheaded at 
Son-Tay on May i, 1851. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. with the other 
seventy-six Martyrs of Annam and China, A.D. 1900. 


Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co. 
Edinburgh & London 

BX 3555 .852 1901 

Short 1 1 ves of the 

Dominican saints / 
AIS-3547 (mcsk) 

frti "" v i trv 4*